FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Aaron Thorn spent hours of his weekend along a busy stretch of Princeton Road outside Bridgewater Falls in Fairfield with a sign and a mission: to find a kidney donor for his wife.
Keli Thorn is in end-stage renal failure and needs to find a donor fast, and the Thorn family has campaigned desperately on social media to find a willing, matching donor.
"It's been kind of shocking all this at one time," said Aaron. "But, the community has been overwhelmingly responsive."
The family learned about the severity of Keli's condition in September; if they don't find a donor soon, Keli will need to go on dialysis. She said the disease is taking a toll on her, especially through the holiday season.
"Going from being able to go and run and clean and everything, I don't have the energy like I used to anymore," said Keli. "I just want to lay around, and that sucked because that's not who I am at all."
After relying on social media to spread the word and call for help, Aaron decided to take it a step further through the weekend. He donned a sign that draped over his shoulders, pointing people to a website the family set up for their cause.
The Thorn family said that while they haven't given up hope, they didn't expect such a strong reaction from the local community.
"Very overwhelmed," said Keli. "A lot of people. I feel like I'm not any more important than anyone else who needs a transplant, so it's kind of overwhelming."
Keli is working with the kidney transplant team at Christ Hospital, but the family hopes that by getting more people to sign up as potential donors, other patients who need lifesaving organs can get the help they need too.
"I would say the biggest thing we need more than anything is just to help share, get the message out there," said Aaron. "Just keep pushing the message on."
He said for him, the cause is simple: when you love someone, you do what you have to do.
"Whatever it takes," he said. "As long as it takes. Wherever we have to go, we'll find one. I'm very confident we will."