An Ottawa firefighter’s family is hoping social media will be a lifesaver, literally.  Craig Dunbar needs a kidney transplant and his friends and family are spreading the word on-line, hoping to find a match.

Right now in Canada, more than 4-thousand people are waiting for a kidney transplant. That wait in Ontario can take up to 7 years.  But Craig Dunbar doesn`t have 7 years so his family has turned to Facebook for help.

“Kidney 4 Craig” was launched last Thursday by one of Dunbar’s cousins and since then, more than 35-hundred “friends” have joined.

Dunbar was diagnosed with renal failure in 2007.  He found out by chance, after he sprained his ankle playing baseball.

“I tripped on a base, sprained my ankle, started taking anti-inflammatories as directed to heal quickly. I didn't know I had an underlying condition that I had been living with and my body had adapted to.”

Within days, Dunbar was on dialysis.  He now does home dialysis 6 nights a week for 9 hours at a time.  But the "fistula" or access he's using for dialysis is failing and Dunbar is running out of options.

“I've been told it's guaranteed to fail within the year so my search for a donor has become more urgent.”

Dunbar has had several family members and friends tested over the years but they've been rejected during the testing phases for one reason or another.  With time running out, his family struck on the idea of a Facebook page to spread the word to family and friends. 

Ihave heard from a number of people,” says Dunbar. “The way it works, I can't know what's going on with any potential donors.  There's confidentiality.  The donor coordinator is fielding those calls and if anybody is a potential donor, I will find out when it's time for me to do test.”

“It's been overwhelming,” says his wife Heather Andrew-Dunbar. “We weren't expecting the response we got.”

Dunbar says since the site has grown so quickly, the family is encouraging anybody who had thought about donating to Dunbar, to think about being an anonymous donor and helping the thousands of others who are waiting for a transplant.  Canada has one of the worst donations rate in the industrialized world.  Dunbar is hoping his efforts can help change that and prompt people to register on-line at or be part of the Living Donor Paired Exchange, run through Canadian Blood Services.

This is Dunbar’s post to the “Kidney 4 Craig” Facebook site on January 18th.

I must say I'm awestruck. Not in the way we casually toss around words like "awesome", "amazing", etc, in our everyday conversations, but truly awed, overwhelmed, and deeply touched by the response.

Within minutes of me finally getting the courage to show my vulnerability and reaching out to my family to help, this campaign is suddenly underway, and people from all over Canada are responding,” Craig Dunbar posted to the Facebook site on January 18th.