During a trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom, 60-year-old New Jersey Dad Robert Leibowitz wore a T-shirt asking for a kidney donor
Robert Leibowitz has a new lease on life — and it’s all thanks to a T-shirt.
Leibowitz, who has long suffered from chronic kidney disease, recently underwent a transplant after wearing a shirt to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom asking for a donor. The tee read: “In Need Of Kidney O Positive Call 917-597-2651.”
In just a few weeks, the 60-year-old single father from New Jersey had found a match.
“It’s still difficult to absorb that the T-shirt actually worked!” he tells PEOPLE. “When I did it, I was hoping if I could just get one person who’s a potential match, that would be worth it. But the fact that … hundreds of people started to call me. I’m thrilled that good people reached out.”
During the Leibowitz family’s August trip to the Florida theme park, Rocio Sandoval walked up to them and asked if she could take a picture of Leibowitz’s shirt, which she then posted on Facebook.
The photo quickly made its way around the internet, amassing thousands of shares in just a few hours. It caught the attention of Richie Sully, of Indiana, who proved to be the perfect match.
On Thursday, Sully successfully donated a kidney to Leibowitz at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. And, despite being released from the hospital about two days after the surgery, Sully has returned to visit Leibowitz nearly every day since.
“It’s impossible not to feel like brothers. He’s obviously an amazing human being to reach out to a stranger,” Leibowitz tells PEOPLE.
“He’s a very humble person. He thinks this is what he should do and what everybody should do, and he wants to make being a donor as common as giving blood. So the fact that he’s like that is pretty amazing.”
Leibowitz says he’s feeling great after the transplant procedure and is expecting to be discharged from the hospital on Monday.
He adds that after waiting so long for a new kidney, he can hardly believe it’s finally happened.
“The fact that I have another 20-plus years with my kids,” he says, “I’m happy as can be.”
When he fully recovers, he, his family and Sandoval’s family will take another trip to Magic Kingdom, he says.
“That’s our goal. Richie’s my hero,” Leibowitz tells PEOPLE. “Our goal is to just reunite and give each other a big group hug, because that’s where all the magic happened.”