DENVER -- A man who has spent more than one year waiting for a kidney hosted a party with friends and family to thank everyone for their support, especially thanking a stranger whose social media post helped connect him with a donor.
Ed Marquez is diabetic and when he went into kidney failure, he decided to post his plea on his pickup truck. He drove the truck around, asking for a donor. He said he drove around for months but only got one or two calls.
"It was kind of getting depressing, to be honest with you," said Marquez.
Teegan Sierra was driving with her mom when she noticed his truck, snapped a picture of it and posted it on her Facebook page. She asked people to share the post. Marquez said that within 36 hours, it was shared 13,000 times.
Marquez said thanks to the viral post, he was bombarded with people expressing interest in donating a kidney. Eventually, a woman qualified to be his donor. His surgery is scheduled for August 17.
"It takes a special person. I don’t know what else to call her, she’s a hero to me," said Marquez.
Marquez and Sierra said that since the Facebook post, the two strangers now consider one another family -- checking in and catching up frequently.
"I get emotional talking about her because her family has become friends with ours, especially her and her mom," said Marquez. "She thinks she did nothing. That’s not the case. She gave me a shot to get all this done."
"I feel blessed being a part of all of this," said Sierra. "Family I didn’t have before and now I do. I am thankful for them as much as they are thankful for me."
Marquez said his donor has remained anonymous so far. He hopes to be able to thank her for all that she's doing, and if he never finds out her name, he hopes she receives the message that he is incredibly grateful.