After kidney transplant, Newaygo athlete recognized for giving back to community

MICHIGAN LIVE | Mark Opfermann
Justice Ottinger, who received a kidney transplant less than a year ago, is a track standout this spring at Newaygo. (Mark Opfermann | MLive.com)
NEWAYGO, MI – Justice Ottinger feels like he has a new lease on life.

The athlete at Newaygo was able to play three sports as a senior despite undergoing a kidney transplant last June, and in return, he wanted to give back.

Ottinger organized a fundraiser during the basketball season called “Ball is Life, Organs Are Too” as a way to honor his donor, Mark Linsley, and raise awareness of the need for organ donors. Hosting the event during a Grant-Newaygo game, a T-shirt sale raised more than $4,000 for Gift of Life Michigan and 13 donors were signed up.

It didn’t go unnoticed as Ottinger was one of six students in Michigan to receive an inaugural community service award sponsored by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and Lake Trust Credit Union for efforts to improve the lives of others in their communities. Winners receive a $1,000 scholarship and another $500 will be donated to a non-profit organization of the awardee’s choice. Continue reading

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