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Death row inmate offers to donate kidney to man in need

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Christian Longo, Fox 12 file image Christian Longo, Fox 12 file image
Kevin Gray Kevin Gray
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DUNDEE, OR (KPTV) -

An inmate on Oregon's death row said he's willing to donate his kidney to a local man with kidney failure.

Christian Longo was convicted of killing his wife and three children in 2001.

He said he's offered to donate his kidney to Kevin Gray, a local man who learned last May that he has stage 5 kidney failure.

Gray is currently on a donor waiting list. He goes through nine hours of dialysis every night while he waits to find a potential match, he said. It's a process that could take up to three years.

Gray said he realized he needed to do something to spread the word about his condition and the need to find more organ donors.

While making signs for a spaghetti benefit dinner and silent auction that's scheduled for April 12 at Newberg Christian Church, Gray said he got to the idea to make his own signs. Since last week, he's been holding them at different points along 99W in Newberg and Dundee. The signs read "Living kidney donor need. Please help." The signs also promote a Facebook page that's been created to help raise awareness about kidney disease.

Convicted killer Christian Longo told FOX 12 reporter Steve McCarron by phone Thursday night that he heard about Gray's condition and what he's doing to raise awareness. He thought donating one of his organs to Gray is something positive he could do despite where he's at.

Longo and Gray haven't spoken directly to each other, but Gray said he was very surprised to hear about Longo's offer. It's one he's willing to consider, he said. But he was more grateful that someone would want to stand up to potentially save his life, he added.

"One of my main things is just spreading the word about kidney disease, being a living donor or even being a donor. So, if you just go to the DMV, just check that box to be a donor. And also... if I happen to get a kidney or find a match to save my life, so I can grow with my family... that's awesome. That's great," Gray said.

Longo said he has been trying to donate his organs for several years. It's not illegal for Oregon inmates to do that, but it's rarely allowed.

Gray said he came close to finding a match, but he learned a couple of days ago that his wife had kidney issues of her own and can't donate hers to him.

Gray decided not to hold his sign along 99W on Thursday because of the rain, and he felt a bit tired, he said. He does plan to be back out on Friday.

Click on this link for more information about kidney donation.

Gray emailed Fox 12 an additional statement about the situation Friday. It says: "I am not grateful that Longo personally is offering me a kidney. Longo deserves no publicity from this. Inmates should be able to donate organs but they have been judged and convicted for a reason. Donating an organ is not to be done for glory. I have no intention of contacting or ever contacting any death row inmates today or ever regarding a kidney donation."

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