A Plea for Help to the POV Community….

A Plea for Help to the POV Community….

My fellow POV readers. Here is a direct request from our fellow Pitt fan Eric Wassel. He needs a new kidney, it is as simple as that.  Please read his letter to you below closely and think about trying to help. I’ve included some thoughts of my own as a postscript.

Dear Fellow POVerts:

I saw a story a few weeks ago about a gentleman who was a Penn State fan who was in need of a kidney transplant, and who went to Facebook to make a plea. He was a retired schoolteacher. One of his former students, an Ohio State fan, had herself tested and became his donor. It was/is a very nice story. Google it.

Hearing that story made me decide that its time for me to ask for help.

As some of you know, I am in need of a kidney transplant. And to be honest, I’d much rather have a kidney from a fellow Pitt fan/alum, than from a Nitter or Hoopie. (For that matter, I’d probably be best to avoid the kidneys of some of you guys given my observation of alcohol consumption at POV tailgates!).

All kidding aside, I’d be grateful for anyone who is willing to help, and would be especially appreciative of any PSU or WVU fans.

So I’m going all in, and putting out the word to my fellow POVerts:

I need a kidney donor.

Unfortunately, I have exhausted all avenues with my family and friends, many of whom have been willing to donate. Unfortunately, none of them are my blood type (O), or otherwise have been rejected as donors by the University of Pennsylvania for some other legitimate medical reason. (Side note: Wanted to have the surgery at UPMC, but due to my Highmark insurance, I was turned away. Ridiculous).

I just completed some additional medical testing this week, and expect to be approved for surgery any day now. But in absence of a donor, I’m stuck in neutral. Maybe my donor is out there in the Pitt community somewhere.

My email is eric.wassel@gmail.com should you wish to contact me.

Thank you all in advance for your consideration, and for the kind words that many of you have expressed to me to date.


Eric (a.k.a. MissingWlat)

P/S: Reed here…I’ve shared on here my own experience of (almost) being a kidney donor to my next door neighbor.  Sam, my neighbor, was 75 years old, African-American and in desperate need of a kidney transplant. I had known he was ill but not the extent of it.

When I asked his wife what was happening  she told me about Sam’s transplant need and I asked how I could help.  Well, she whipped out some papers and asked if I would test for donorship, so I did that afternoon.

To my thinking I was about as far as possible removed from the donor pool for Sam due to our many differences but, just like as has happened with Eric above, all his relatives and friends who had tested for Sam came back negative…except for the ultimate long shot…me.

I was 100% compatible!

Shocked, but very happy, discussed it with my family, they were all in, and then agreed to go through all the additional tests and then donate my kidney.

Honestly all that was amazingly very easy to do, up to a point. A week from the scheduled surgery date the doctors re-did one single test based on how large I am (6’6″ & 250) and it showed a miniscule bit of plaque which disqualified me immediately and at almost literally the last-minute.

I offered to waive any and all liabilities so that we could go on with the surgery but we couldn’t. Of course I had been smoking for 30+ years and drank a ton also…and even with that I almost  made it…and you all are probably in much better shape than I was three years ago.

So – my point with this is to tell you that I was rather shocked at how easy and non-stressful the whole process was for me as the prospective donor. I read all I could, talked with other donors and was completely fine, emotionally and mentally, with giving a kidney – because we truly do only need one to function as if we had two. In reality we carry a spare kidney with us.

With that I urge each and everyone to read the letter from Eric again and think long and hard about helping a fellow human in the most profound way.

Here is a great website that UPMC did that lays everything out…


Thanks so much and if you have any questions at all about donorship please drop me an email with your phone number and I’ll tell you all I know. If you qualify and have worries I’ll drive to wherever you live to talk to you in person if you need – it is truly that important.

I had many friends ask me why I would do this for someone who wasn’t a family member and I told everyone who asked that the same thing…because it is our highest calling in life to save another’s.  And that is what you will be doing.

I believe in the good of humanity and think all of you do also. We care and we act and we try our best to help others, even if we don’t know them that well.

BTW after Sam and I did all the testing the doctors determined he was healthy enough to be placed on the transplant waiting list. Sam got his new kidney nine months later and is doing great!

Best,   Reed Kohberger