Brady's big connection off the field

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is known most for his on-field connections with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch, among others, but he recently made a different type of connection that highlights how players can also be difference-makers off the field.

Brady had been working to find a potential kidney donor for his longtime personal quarterback coach Tom Martinez, but Martinez unfortunately succumbed to a heart attack in February, just weeks before his potential life-saving surgery. Brady had encouraged people via Facebook to visit MatchingDonors.com, a website dedicated to finding matches for those in need of a transplant, to see if they could assist Martinez. The response in the weeks following Brady’s announcement was overwhelming, as more than 600 individuals stepped up to see if they were a match.

One potential donor, Peter Hughes, of Sterling, Mass., was inspired by Brady’s outreach and determined to help someone else in need of a new kidney.

Hughes revisited MatchingDonors.com after the news of Martinez’s death and found that he was match with someone seeking a transplant, Ajisa Bethiel.

Bethiel had been on the waiting list at multiple hospitals for more than a year in search of a match, and was struggling with chronic kidney failure while raising her son, who previously had nine brain surgeries.

Now, just six months after she first joined MatchingDonors.com, Bethiel will receive her life-saving kidney transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital on May 22, from Hughes. Had Bethiel and Hughes not found each other on MatchingDonors.com, she could have had to wait up to 7-10 years on a donor from the government’s deceased donor list.

Credit Brady for the connection.