My story is not unique. While many people suffer from serious kidney diseases such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD), few people know about it or talk about it.

Thanks to my sister and some very talented and dedicated friends, we are harnessing humor to tell my story and raise awareness of kidney disease. In late 2016, we started brainstorming ways to help my search for a living kidney donor. In a matter of months, the campaign came to fruition with the introduction of in April 2017.

In a relatively short time, the Gene’s Big Dumb Kidneys team has increased public awareness through all forms of media including newspaper, radio, recorded blogs, videos, and social media channels. Below we share the media highlights for our “kidney crusade.” This is just the beginning.

Man with world’s largest kidneys undergoes complicated transplant surgery at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic News Network

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Brillant and Creative Campaign “Gene and His Big Dumb Kidneys” Launches Search for a Living Donor

The Culture News

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Northvale Native’s ‘Big, Dumb Kidneys’ Are No Laughing Matter

Daily Voice

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Do You Have Gene’s Kidney? Newport Beach Man Seeks Living Donor For Rare Disease


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Newport man who needs a transplant wants you to meet his big, dumb kidneys

Daily Pilot

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This resident needs a kidney…looking for a donor

Stu News Newport

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Newport Beach man uses humor in his search for kidney donor

Orange County Register

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Gene’s Big Dumb Kidneys

Chris Klug Foundation

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Saying Goodbye to Gene’s ‘Big Dumb Kidneys’

In the Loop – Mayo Clinic

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Former Bodybuilder Uses Humor to Find Kidney Donor

KFI AM 640

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A silly web series with a serious aim: to find Gene a kidney donor


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Voices of PKD: Gene Okun

PKD Connection

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At the Mayo Clinic

After much deliberation and multiple visits to transplant centers nationwide, my sister and I selected the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for my hoped-for kidney transplant. We felt the Mayo Clinic was the best fit for my complex kidney surgery and offered the highest probability of a successful outcome for my living donor and myself. Their state-of-the-art facilities are designed to handle a high volume of patients, from testing to surgery and recovery.

My favorite thing about the Mayo Clinic so far is the medical staff, who are extremely helpful and friendly. Based on my experience, the doctors love their work and their patients. I got the feeling they care deeply and strive to be the best at their profession.

Learn more about PKD from the Mayo Clinic:

Polycystic Kidney Disease
Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Center