A Sylvan Lake man is in need of a living kidney donor

'Papa Phil can, but his kidneys can't'
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 19:43:45-04

(WXYZ) — You may not have to think out about what your family’s life would be like without you in it, but Phil Ross, of Sylvan Lake does.

Although his health concerns are not directly related to the coronavirus, the pandemic has delayed him from getting a life-saving procedure.

Right now, what he needs is what Detroiters do best – help each other.

7 Action News Reporter Andrea Isom sat down with the Oakland County couple who is praying for a miracle.

“I pray that I’m able to live the life that I’ve worked so hard for, all my life,” those words of hope, from the 67-year-old.

Phil was recently diagnosed with end stage renal failure.

“I’ve a had a chronic kidney issue for most of my life,” he says.

Physicians have been monitoring him for all of those years. Everything was going well until February when he and his wife Debbi, of nearly 40 years, went to Utah to take in its beauty.

“I just noticed I was running out of breath really fast. I just couldn’t go on the hikes, go to the high altitudes without feeling it,” he explains.

When the couple returned home to metro Detroit, they immediately went to see Phil’s doctors and received the starling news.

“Your kidney function is alarming," Phil recalled. "Basically, you’ve gone over the cliff."

Phil needs a living donor.

“Tomorrow is too late.," said Debbi Ross. "I mean, we need it now. We need a kidney, now, right now.”

But being in the middle of a global pandemic has created other obstacles.

“I just got added to the donor list transplant list, finally," Phil said. "The COVID thing was an issue with getting me tested to get on there. So, that causes some delays. The other issue is I have to be really careful not to get COVID. Number one it can be bad for the kidneys."

And postpone a transplant. Medical professionals worry putting Phil on dialysis would make him sicker and not heal him at all, or allow for the rest of his dreams to come true.

“We were looking forward to traveling and a lot of volunteer work. I love volunteering," he said. "And spending a huge amount of time out in California with our grandchildren. I pray for somebody to step up as a living donor, who will be a match. I know it’s a huge ask. I can’t believe that people are willing to do this but i’m so thankful."

Phil’s family started a social media campaign for a donor called "Papa Phil can, but his kidneys can’t."

So, please let’s help change that. You could be able to give the gift of life, visit