Brady's big connection off the field

May, 10, 2012
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, 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 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, 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, 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.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.



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