BRIGANTINE, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey mayor and his family have been running the campaign of a lifetime. They’ve turned to Facebook and even a billboard to gather support. The community reaction has been shocking.
The Simpson family understands a hard ask. Two years ago, they were campaigning for votes when dad, Andy, ran for mayor of Brigantine.
“As a politician, you really don’t want people to really know your personal life,” Andy Simpson said.
Andy Simpson won and has been serving as mayor for the last year-and-a-half. But in that time, a far more consequential campaign emerged.
“His kidney function is continuing to deteriorate and at that point, they said you’re going to need a transplant,” Andy’s daughter, Meggan Advena, said.
Andy Simpson has end-stage renal disease.
A kidney transplant through the national waiting list often takes years so his children got creative, creating a Facebook page and a billboard.
“We basically just put up ‘kidney donor needed,’ put it against a red background — something that would really get people’s attention — then put a picture of my dad and his grandson with him, Jack,” daughter Katie Simpson said.
Their family business gave them access to the billboard space and for two months the plea stood on the White Horse Pike in Atlantic City.
“It was amazing to me, and what really is amazing is the people who came out and said, ‘Hey, I would like to donate my kidney to you,” Andy Simpson said.
The family says about 40 people have come forward — a blessing that followed loss.
“Losing my wife is not easy even though I lost her 10 years ago,” Simpson said.
One month ago, Simpson’s wife, Linda, died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
“She gave back so much to the city of Brigantine. She was an amazing woman and Dina, the girl that has offered her kidney to me, is right up there with her,” Simpson said.
That’s right. Thanks to the effort of his children, a match has been found.
If one last test clears the procedure, the mayor of Brigantine will have his life saved by a Brigantine resident named Dina.