Louisville man appears on billboards across Kentucky for 'Donate Life Month'
There is no shame in Mike Olsen's campaign. He needs lungs, and he needs them now.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There is no shame in Mike Olsen's campaign.
He needs lungs, and he needs them now.
"The last option is death, and I might die from this disease," Olsen said.
And soon, the public will know that need.
Olsen's face joins 38 others on billboards throughout Kentucky.
"April is 'Donate Life Month' every year across the nation," said Shelley Snyder, Community Outreach Coordinator of the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. "It's to celebrate the lives of those who are waiting for an organ transplant, who have received an organ transplant and to memorialize those who have given the gift of life."
We've been following Olsen's journey for more than a year as he battles Idiopathic Pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. The disease allows the body to basically attack itself by shutting down the lungs with scar tissue.
There is no known cause and no known cure, and it kills roughly 40,000 people a year..
"I want to leave a legacy that this disease needs a cure," Olsen said. "IPF needs a cure."
Doctors gave Olsen two years to live. That was more than two years ago.
"If I get five more years, I'll be thrilled," he said..
A transplant won't save him, but it will buy him more time.
Organizers hope the billboards throughout Kentucky and these stories spark conversations in the car.
"Talk to your parents, your kids, and say, 'You know, if something ever happened to me, I'd want to save someone's life,'" Snyder said. "And hopefully, we have more people who say yes and get that heart on their license."
You don't even have to race here to the DMV anymore to become an organ donor. There's now an app for that on your iPhone. Simply click on the health app built into your phone and follow the prompts to donate. Or you can click here to donate.
Olsen is one of 1,000 people needing on an organ in Kentucky and one of 100,000 across the country.
"I don't want to miss out on any more life," he said.
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