Martindale is donating his kidney for LaFramboise, who has been in end-stage renal failure and on dialysis for four years.
“To have Brian do this for me, there is no way to thank the man,” LaFramboise said. “I love him and I don’t even really know him. He’s like a saint.”
The timeline isn’t the only thing that makes this donation unique; the proceedure itself has a twist. Martindale is not a match for LaFramboise, meaning under typical circumstances this donation would not happen.
The two are participating in what is known as a paired donation. Martindale’s kidney will go to another patient — who he may never meet — and in exchange, a donor that LaFramboise may never meet will give him a kidney.
“I give up a kidney, but two people will get their lives back,” Martindale said of the procedure. “I’ve made up my mind and this just feels like the right thing to do.”
Chad Abbott, spokesman for the University of Michigan Transplant Center paired kidney donation program, said paired donations are both unique and common.
“Among people who have potential donors but the donors aren’t a match, this program is really gaining popularity,” he said. “But the patients must have a potential donor.”
Charity is not new to Martindale. He, along with his son Dave Martindale, owns and operates Karma Inc. Apparel, an online clothing shop that donates at least 10 percent of its profits to a variety of charities.
While undergoing testing for the surgery in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan Transplant Center, Martindale learned “a lot” about the transplant process, igniting a drive to do more than just donate a kidney.
“A lot of the staff at the University of Michigan hospital — the doctors, nurses, volunteers — they help out at this camp, Camp Michitanki, for kids who have had transplants,” he said. “These kids need a special camp because of their medical needs and this camp allows them to go someplace, have a normal week away from home.”
The stories of youngsters dealing with organ transplants, the additional stress and restrictions they deal with, made Martindale all the more grateful for his healthy family, he said.
“Seeing someone personally deal with everything, it really drives it home,” he said. “I have a grown son who is my business partner and he’s always been healthy. I never had to deal with the things that these parents are having to deal with. You hear about transplants or kids who are sick, but this made it real.”
The camp currently operates out of a campground in Holly that the program rents for a week, but the goal is to purchase its own grounds. Martindale, along with his son Dave, have put together a number of local fundraisers for Camp Michitanki.
They have organized a concert featuring Mark Farner — of Grand Funk Railroad fame — at the State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave., on Friday. Tickets are being sold online and at the theater box office for $30 to $35, and the concert begins at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, they’ll turn their attention to “Bowling for Life” at Washington Lanes bowling alley, 1205 Washington Ave. For $30 per bowler, participants will be able to enjoy mixed doubles no-tap bowling, food provided by Hooters and Brooklyn Boys restaurants, music by Tyler Short and be eligible for a number of prizes, including gifts from Herman Hiss & Co. and Simmons jewelers. Bowling begins at 1 p.m., and people can register at Washington Lanes or by printing off a registration form at www.karmaincapparel.com.
Finally, Karma Inc. Apparel — the Martindales’ company — has produced special edition “Guilty of Caring” t-shirt in maize and blue, with $10 from every sale going towards camp Michitanki. Martindale said that nearly every penny of profit from the $24.99 shirts is going to the cause.
“We decided to do something special for the university,” Martindale said. “That’s the way we want to do business.”
The t-shirts are available at Karma Inc. Apparel’s online store at www.karmaincapparel.com.