EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Linda Griggs always knew the day would come when she would need a kidney transplant. Griggs was diagnosed in her teens with a genetic defect that has slowly ruined her kidneys.
Unfortunately for Griggs, her Type O blood proves to be a difficult match for family members who offered to donate their own kidneys.
“Two years ago, in September (2020), my sister stepped up for me and tried to donate,” she said. “She was not able to qualify.”
Griggs said she exhausted all of her family and friends’ resources and it was only after her last potential match failed that she turned to yard signs. What started out as small yard signs and flyers has now turned to something much larger.
“I put the flyer out at Early Bird Café, my doctor’s (office), bookstores, on trees and on telephone poles when I walk,” she said.
Her efforts resulted in four strangers wanting to donate, but again they were not a match for Griggs.
“So that is why I’m back with a bigger outreach and a bigger sign for strangers, more strangers,” Griggs said.
A nearly 5-foot wide, colorful sign now stands at the corner of Alexander Street and Cambridge Drive. The sign reads, “I need a kidney. Can you share your spare?” The sign also includes a link to her National Kidney Registry page.
The sign was painted by Grigg’s friend, Mary Ellen McNaughton.
“It’s a kidney and this represents the vine of life,” McNaughton said. “There is a little flower, and the butterfly represents transformation, and the heart represents love. So anyone donating a kidney of course is doing an act of love.”
If Griggs doesn’t secure a match, she will likely be put on dialysis within months. She said she hopes to avoid dialysis because it can cause further complications if and when she finds a donor.
While Griggs bides her time and waits for that life-saving phone call she has turned to art. She has created more than a hundred collages of her own, each of which represents a different story or thought she’s had along her health journey.