NEWBERG, Ore. – A convicted killer wants to donate his kidney to a Newberg man so desperate for a donor, he’s been standing on a street corner asking for an organ.
Christian Longo was convicted in 2003 of killing his wife and three children. Their bodies were found in 2001, left in Oregon coastal waterways.
In the past he’s stated that he wanted his organs to be donated after his execution. But a moratorium Gov. John Kitzhaber put on state executions in 2011 halted that idea.
Newberg dad, Kevin Gray, was diagnosed with stage five kidney failure last May. He got on a donor waiting list but he wanted to do more than just wait.
He’s been standing on the corner of Highway 99W and Brutscher Street, holding a sign saying “Living Kidney Donor Needed. Please help."
KGW spotlighted Gray on Monday and did a story on his plight. Longo was among the many who saw the report and felt compelled to try and help.
Gray was surprised when he learned Longo had made the offer.
Gray, who has type A blood, can receive a kidney from a person who has type A or type O blood. His campaign for a new kidney has grabbed national attention.
Since his story went public, Gray has had people contact him through email and through an organ donor Facebook page called Are You My Type.
“I've seen posts from Chicago and New York where people say ‘Hey, I want to help. I want to sign up to be your donor,'” Gray said.
Longo contacted KGW after seeing Gray’s story and said he wanted to donate his kidney. Longo wrote that he and several other inmates would be interested in donating organs, if they were able to.
“I don't perceive it as a redemptive act,” Longo said in a phone interview. “I just perceive it as a logical act.”
Legally, inmates can donate organs, but it's rarely allowed.
From prison Longo helped launch a non-profit organization, called G.A.V.E.: Gifts of Anatomical Value from Everyone.
“I just think it's a shame that the Kevin Grays of this world have to resort to standing on a street corner to find a kidney when there are millions of inmates and others that would like to donate but are needlessly prohibited from doing so,” Longo said.
Gray said he’d gladly accept a kidney from an inmate.
“They've already been judged,” Gray said. “I'm not one to judge. If they're healthy and they can donate, I see nothing wrong with it.”
For now Gray will keep manning this corner and a mission to not only hopefully help himself, but promote organ donations for anyone.
“The more people I can even get to check that box at the DMV, saying hey I'd like to be a donor,” Gray said. “I'm just going to keep moving forward with that.”
Katherine Cook contributed to this report