VIDEO: Facebook appeal to help find kidney for Matthew Pietrzyk, from Glenfield
An online appeal to find a kidney for a poorly seven-year-old boy has attracted worldwide support from more than 300,000 well-wishers.
Matthew Pietrzyk, from Glenfield, was born with a rare genetic disorder which has damaged his kidneys.
In a bid to find a live donor and raise awareness of organ donation, his mum, Nicola, uploaded a picture of Matthew to Facebook, appealing for a million people to "like" the image.
In less than a week, more than 301,800 people have responded to her appeal, and nearly 40,000 people have joined a Facebook page supporting Matthew's search.
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"It is absolutely overwhelming and I never believed for a second that I would get this kind of response," said Nicola, 33.
"I would love it if this campaign found a kidney for Matthew, obviously, but if it just encourages more people to join the organ donation register, and helps even one more person, that would be amazing.
"I've been getting 50 messages a day and been up until 2am replying to the amazing messages – I just can't not reply because people are being so kind.
"If hope and prayers were all that was needed to get Matthew a kidney, without a doubt we'd have one today."
Matthew was born with congenital nephrotic syndrome which means his faulty kidneys get rid of protein through his urine that would usually transport fluids around his body.
He had one kidney removed in October, 2007 to prepare him to receive a donor organ from his mum.
The transplant took place in January, 2008, at Nottingham City hospital but the new kidney failed immediately and was removed.
"I'm usually said to be the cement that holds everything together, but when that happened I crumbled," said Nicola, a part-time aerobics teacher.
Matthew was put on the national waiting list, alongside hundreds of other children. His second kidney was removed in May this year, to help ease his condition and prepare him for a potential second donor.
While he waits for that donor to be found, Matthew has to endure 12-hour daily dialysis sessions and can only drink 850ml of liquid a day.
He sometimes gets poorly and has to spend time in hospital.
Matthew's aunts, uncles, grandparents and family friends have been tested as potential donors, but while six share his blood group, none were a sufficient match.
It was when Nicola's youngest brother failed to match that she launched her online campaign last week.
"I thought, we have to do something about this because we are getting nowhere," said Nicola, who has two other sons, Joseph, 14 and Theo, two, with husband Craig.
"Matthew was fully aware and on board and he said, 'We've been waiting such a long time, it's worth a try'. I'm not saying to people that we need one tomorrow, although that would be amazing.
"You can live on dialysis for about 25 years, but I don't want Matthew to spend his childhood on dialysis.
"Even if we don't get a donor for Matthew through this, just getting the word out there about how people can be a live kidney donor would be brilliant – you don't have to die to be a donor and some people don't know that."
Videos of Matthew have been posted on to the Facebook page's timeline.
In one video, posted last Friday, Matthew said: "I have been waiting for a kidney transplant for years now and you can help me by signing the organ donor register. It only takes five minutes. You can do it!"
In another, posted on Monday, he said: "Thank you for watching and liking my videos and sharing my page. Keep up the good work."
A live matching donor for Matthew would be blood type O, based in the UK and under 55-years-old.
To support Matthew online, or find out how you can help, visit Facebook here or search for "A million likes for a kidney for Matthew".