A veteran Ottawa comedian is fighting for his life after contracting hepatitis C, which shut down his kidneys and liver.

Mike MacDonald, 57, needs a liver transplant and his friend launched an online campaign to raise money for living and medical expenses.

The original goal was $10,000 but the fast response raised that goal to $20,000. The cause has already surpassed the $11,000 mark.

"I never expected this to happen, it's just snowballed into this thing," MacDonald said from his Ottawa home.

The sarcastic and cynical comedian lived in Los Angeles for a time as he plied his trade on the stage. That is where he contracted hepatitis C last year.

He does not know how he contracted the illness, he said, but added it could be due to his past lifestyle and drug use.

Kidneys, liver shut down last month

He was then hospitalized last month when his kidneys and liver shut down.

MacDonald moved back to his hometown last summer and he is unable to work. He said he is speechless with all the donations to his cause.

"It's restored my faith in humanity. This whole thing has been very humbling," he said.

His friend has set up a donation site that has caught the attention of fans and comedians from across the continent. It has also spread on social media.

MacDonald also wrote a letter on that website detailing his struggle.