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'This changed my life': Boulder woman gives stranger her kidney after seeing Denver7 story

Julie Spear's donation triggered a chain of paired exchanges across the country
Posted: 5:59 PM, May 20, 2024
Updated: 2024-05-21 14:31:51-04
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Altruistic Donor Gives Stranger Her Kidney

BOULDER, Colo. — A year after his desperate plea on Denver7, a Colorado man's life was transformed by a neighbor he'd never met, sparking a chain of kidney transplants that saved multiple lives.

The latest numbers show that Colorado had more than 1,100 people on the kidney transplant waiting list. How far would you go to help a total stranger?

Jeff Blumenfeld and Julie Spear had never met before, even though they lived about a mile apart in Boulder.

"I had seen the [Denver7] story, actually got a notification from the app," said Spear, who said the headline about a man looking for a kidney caught her attention. "And I decided I'm going to do this."

Blumenfeld, who had dedicated his life to volunteering all over the globe was going to extreme lengths to find a kidney donor.

"I'm a volunteer who needs a volunteer," he said in 2023.

He and his family turned their cars into moving billboards, put up free billboards and even reached out to celebrities on social media trying to find help. Lamar Advertising Company donated billboard space in Brighton. He also shared his story with Denver7 in May of last year.

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Contact Denver7

Colo. man on transplant waiting list turns to billboard asking for a kidney

Jaclyn Allen
6:07 PM, May 17, 2023

Spear saw his story and thought of her son Evan, who died in a car crash in 2015.

"He was an organ donor, and he was able to donate this heart, liver and kidneys, and it was such an amazing legacy to leave," she said.

Denver7 covered the moment the man who received Evan's liver told Julie thank you in 2017.

Since that day, Spear knew she would also give back, and after she found the neighbor she had never met, she became an altruistic donor. Her kidney set off a chain of ten paired kidney transplants across the country, including Jeff Blumenfeld's transplant.

"Thank you, this, of course, changed my life," said Blumenfeld to Spears. "And it has given me a new purpose."

Now, Blumenfeld is no longer on dialysis, focusing on his recovery, his family, and his new cause.

"Because of people like Julie, I become a kidney donor advocate," said Blumenfeld. "I've testified before the Colorado legislature. My next book will be called, very simple title, 'How To Find a Kidney.'"

Hear from Julie about why she donated – and from Jeff about what the donation meant – in the video player below:

'This changed my life': Boulder woman gives stranger her kidney after seeing Denver7 story

For him, the key was finding someone like Spear, who lives a mile away and was just waiting for the chance to save a stranger's life.

"That's all you can hope for is that people see the difference that they can make," said Spear.

For more information on living kidney donation, click here for the National Kidney Foundation's website.

Spear started a foundation in Evan's memory to support donor families. Click here for more information.

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