WESTWEGO, La. -- Each day is a special blessing for a Westwego man. He knows he may not have much longer to live if he doesn't have a kidney transplant.
"To be honest with you, I'm not afraid to die, but I'd like to live longer," said Elvin Hill of Westwego.
Hill's kidneys failed five years ago. He lost 140 pounds, and now spends 10 hours every night on dialysis at his house.
"It really sucks," he said. "It's not pleasant at all"
"Very tough," said his niece Malarie Gossell. "I'm holding back tears for you. I didn't want them to fall out yet."
Gossell matched as a donor, but then was disqualified. Hill has been on the transplant waiting list for six months, but worries whether a donor will be found in time.
"When Mallory told me she was a match, I cried like a baby," Hill said. "And when I found out that she had problems, and couldn't give me the kidney, that even hurt me more, depressed me."
"Hurt me too," Gossell said.
"We have over 1800 people in the state of Louisiana alone, and over 125,000 people in the country that are waiting for organs, and somebody is added every 10 minutes," said Kelly Ranum, executive director of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.
The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency reports that on average, 18 people a day die while they are on organ transplant waiting lists. They are urgently trying to get as many people as possible to register as organ donors.
In Hill's case, he is hoping not only for a life saving transplant for himself, but for others as well.
"I have friends that I made in the dialysis unit, and they deserve a kidney just as much as I do," he said.
"Pretty frightened," Gossell said. "I don't want to imagine the next five, or 10 or 20 years without him being here."
To register as a potential organ donor, simply visit the driver's license office, or call the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency toll free at 1-800-521-4483, or visit their website at www.lopa.org.