Karma Inc Apparel Donation
BAY CITY, MI-- Five years ago, Jessica Schwerin's mother wasn't sure if her 10-year-old daughter was going to make it to age 11.
But today, she continues to thank the man who allowed her daughter to survive.
Thanks to that man -- Brian Martindale -- Schwerin, 15, is a healthy and happy student at Bay City Central High School currently working to obtain adrivers license. Martindale donated his kidney to Schwerin five years ago today, Jan. 11.
"He saved my daughter's life and my life," said the teen's mother, Stacey Schwerin.
Jessica Schwerin has check-ups at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor every three months to make sure all is well with her donated kidney.
"More people should donate because obviously, it changes someone's life but it also changes the family from my perspective because it saves them from the grief," the teen said. "You don't have to see them go through dialysis or end up just dying."
Martindale, 56, made sure that Jessica didn't have to endure either of those scenarios.
The Bay City businessman is a strong believer in karma. Since he donated his kidney in 2013, good karma has come back to him.
He even has an online apparel company named it, Karma Inc. Apparel. Martindale said he donates 25 percent of profits to five charities, one of them being the C.S.Mott Children's hospital where Jessica received her kidney.
"This was one of the greatest experiences of my life," Martindale said. "Of course there's a little pain involved when you do something like this, but nothing good in life comes without a little pain."
There are more than 98,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney donation and 14 people die every day from kidney failure,according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Martindale said he uses his experience as a donor to help others. He's a peer mentor to kidney donors at the U of M Transplant Center and shares his experience as a kidney donor.
Schwerin said she's always wanted to go into the medical field but her experience as a kidney recipient has influenced her decision even more.
In 2013, Martindale learned about Schwerin's need for a kidney transplant in a Bay City Times-MLive article detailing the family's hunt for a kidney donor. Schwerin was diagnosed with genetic kidney failure. Her mother went as far as grabbing the attention of potential donors by holding a sign on the corner of Wilder and State Street roads.
"If you do good things for other people, good things will come back to you," Martindale said. " I've been blessed a thousand times since I donated this kidney."
Martindale, Jessica and her family will celebrate the anniversary over dinner this weekend.
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