HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - During Monday’s Great Aloha Run, as thousands of runners focused on the finish line, Timothy and Eve In had their own job to do.
“Our goal is to find a live donor before he has to go on dialysis," Eve In said.
"That is what has been our focus for two years."
During the entire race, the couple stood on the side of Nimitz Highway behind a large white banner that read “Need a kidney now. Please be a donor.”
Tim In, 71, suffers from kidney disease.
The substitute teacher and woodworker admits advertising his plight felt awkward at first, but he did it for everyone who’s waiting for a kidney transplant.
“Even if someone else decides to donate, even if it doesn’t go to me (and) it goes to somebody else, there’s a great need,” he said.
Glen Hayashida, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, understands the couple's desperation.
More than 4,500 people in Hawaii have kidney failure, but the number of living donors is declining.
"Three of the last four years there were less than 15, so there's a great need for living donors," he said.
The Ins didn't get a donor offer during the race but they did get quite a bit of positive reaction and encouragement.
"One woman came up and told us that she had a kidney transplant six years ago, and there she was walking the race," Eve said.
"Once we got a response from people it was so gratifying," Tim said.
Hayashida said the Ins; attempt at finding a donor is admirable but he warns them to be careful and to screen any offer for help.
"If a perfect stranger steps forward and wants to become a donor the caution is that we don't know what the motivation is," he said.
Tim In has run in nearly every Great Aloha Run since it started in 1985. He saves his t-shirts and his race numbers. But his condition forced him to miss Monday’s race.
“After doing it so many years, it was like a habit in a way. I miss that part of it,” he said.