Reporting Kate Merrill
LEXINGTON (CBS) – He is a star on the football field, but now Tom Brady can be called a lifesaving hero.
The Patriots quarterback made a plea for kidney donors to help his high school coach Tom Martinez. The result was an even greater gift to many other people.
Ajisa Bethiel is a Lexington mother who says she owes her life to Brady.
Dozens of emails poured in after she posted on MatchingDonors.com, a website to connect organ donors with people who need them. The mother of two, who escaped war torn Bosnia in 1994 desperately needed a new kidney.
“They told me that my kidney was very damaged, very scarred from infection,” says Ajisa.
She had lots of offers to help, but none were right. It wasn’t until a call came in last year that things took a turn.
It was Peter Hughes calling to help and Tom Brady was the reason why.
Brady made a personal plea last year looking for a new kidney for his beloved childhood coach and mentor Tom Martinez. As a result, 600 new donors signed up. Peter was one of them.
When Martinez died before he could get a transplant, Peter decided to help someone else.
Ajisa’s husband Scott says Tom Brady’s plea made an impact that can’t be measured.
“This is the most exciting thing that’s happened, you can’t imagine how hard it’s been,” says Scott. “Obviously Tom Brady’s involvement will save a lot more people.”
Even now, faced with hundreds of pills and surgery in just 12 days, the Bethiels are looking towards the future and looking for a proper way to say thank you to the stranger from Sterling for saving their family.
“I don’t know how I can say enough thank you,” says Ajisa. “I think we need more people like him.”
The two have never met, but they talk and text all the time. They plan to meet for the first time the day of the surgery. Ajisa, who can’t stop thanking Peter and MatchingDonors.com, only waited six months for her kidney. Traditional wait times on the government’s deceased donors list is 7-10 years.