CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- It was an ABC11 viewer at a red light in North Hills this week who spotted the black SUV. They read the sign on the back window: "Need kidney for Dad," with instructions to call the number printed below. That viewer snapped a picture and sent it to the news station wondering what's the story here?
"That is me (driving that car) yes," said Natalie Hoffman, the Cary woman behind the unique message. "I'm so glad (the viewer) saw it and sent the picture to you all. Because I was like, I have to do something for my father because my dad is like, he means my life."
Hoffman's father, 61-year old, Nick Tabron, is an Army veteran, a cartoonist and an aspiring classical painter. But in 2019, after a missionary trip to Argentina, Tabron was diagnosed with kidney disease. It's been two hard years of dialysis treatment. Tabron needs a new kidney.
Two months ago, Hoffman, desperate to help, started using her car to get the word out: her dad needs help.
"Natalie is like her mother, she's a go-getter," Tabron told ABC11. "And, when I first found out about the message being on the car, I was like, whoa, wow. And I'm saying that's my baby. That's her persona."
MORE NEED THAN DONORS
Tabron is not alone. More than 3,000 North Carolinians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Nearly 90% of those are waiting for a kidney.
Hoffman and Tabron see an opportunity to raise awareness about the need for more living donors.
"People need to know," said Tabron. "People need to know the struggle; people need to know what they can do to help other people like me."
Hoffman added: "We want to reach out to our communities and help people know that this is something that a lot of people have to face. And if one person can make a difference in somebody else's life, then why not do that?"
HAS ANYONE CALLED YET?
Hoffman admits her plea garnered at least one prank call. But she said another recent caller was amazing. It was a successful kidney transplant recipient who gave them a treasure trove of advice on more ways to get the word out.
For more information on living kidney donation go to Donate Life NC. And if you see Hoffman driving through your neighborhood, she says she'd love a call if you can help.