A Long Island man is about 500 steps closer to finding the kidney donation he needs after a Wainscott man and his daughter, who are the owner and president of a New York City marketing and advertising agency, stepped in to lend a hand.
Rick Del Mastro of Wainscott, the chief executive officer of City Outdoor USA, and his daughter, Dawn Del Mastro-Chruma, the president of the company, offered free advertising space on one of their billboards — in Times Square — to Marc Weiner of Great Neck. The billboard reads, “My name is Marc. I need a kidney. YOU can help!” Along with the news coverage it attracted, it generated a list more than 500 names long of people from around the world who stepped up to be screened as donors, according to Mr. Del Mastro.
“It was very exciting and we’re very happy,” he said. “We’re hoping there will be a match. We’re going to keep the billboard up and running. It only takes one, but hopefully it’s one in that 500.”
Mr. Weiner, a cancer survivor who has had multiple surgeries, said Friday he is grateful, optimistic and inspired.
“At first it was a little daunting. After 30 years in TV news I’m used to shining the spotlight on others and not on myself at all,” he said. “I’m ecstatic. I’m lucky.”
Ms. Del Mastro-Chruma said the idea to use one of the company’s billboards — it owns more than 100 in New York City — came during a lunch date with Mr. Weiner’s wife, Lisa, several weeks ago. The billboard measures 50 feet by 100 feet and flashes Mr. Weiner’s message for 15 seconds at a time eight times per hour. He’s in good company, Ms. Del Mastro-Chruma said. His ad alternates with others from the fashion, entertainment, Broadway and travel worlds.
“It’s phenomenal. It’s really great. It also brings a tremendous amount of awareness for other people who need kidneys,” Ms. Del Mastro-Chruma said. “I truly believe it’s going to work.”