Bay City man reunites with kidney recipient and sets out on a trip to help others

BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) – A man in mid-Michigan is going on a nationwide tour this summer to raise awareness of the need for kidney donations.

It’s very personal to him because he donated a kidney to a Bay City girl years ago.

“Jessica and I have done this before, together and separately, and when I saw the success of it and found that it’s something I’m good at, I thought well, why not take this to a national level, said Brian Martindale, a kidney donor peer mentor.

The Bay City resident travels across the country to find kidney donors for those who need them.

“When I was ten, it was a little hard to think about being so old and living through all this. Because as I think about it, I do not want to say daily, but at least every month about like the people I meet, I would not have met them without him, ”said Jessica Schwerin, a kidney recipient.

In a story TV5 covered almost a decade ago, the now 20-year-old got a kidney from Martindale after her mother stood outside for hours with a pink sign.

“But the day before Thanksgiving was when Stacy was called up, Jess’s mother said, she said in the articles and interview with TV5 that she screamed so loud that I should have heard her even four blocks away,” Schwerin said.

Schwerin has worked and saved money for college.

She is a finalist for a scholarship from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, and she wants to go to Eastern Michigan University to study neuroscience.

“When I was little and like was so much in the hospital, I wanted to pull out my own IVs, I wanted to help people with my vital signs, I wanted to be so interested in it, and I think it helped really, “Schwerin said.

But Martindale says he may have received an even bigger gift than Schwerin.

“All the times I got to see her go through as a teenager and watch that play when you were in theater at Bay City Central High School, you know, and see her do the things that a normal teenager does,” Martindale said. .

“There are days when I wish I did not have a kidney disease, but at the same time I like that with what has happened and what helps people get kidneys, it’s worth it,” Schwerin said. .

A GoFundMe has been created to help.

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