Anonymous donation helps Tecumseh teen meet fundraising goal for kidney transplant
By DEB WUETHRICH
An anonymous gift of $15,000 recently helped Tecumseh High School senior Brandon Rodgers, who needs a kidney transplant, and his family meet a fundraising goal of $40,000. Funds were being raised through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) with contributions being made through local events, such as T-shirt sales and a St. Patrick’s Day Taco/Nacho lunch.
Janelle McClure, owner of The Sports Hut and Brandon’s COTA fundraising coordinator, said that Brandon was thrilled at the news of the donation.
“The thought of a stranger donating $15,000 to a 18-year-old from the small town of Tecumseh was unbelievable,” said Brandon.
McClure said Brandon and his family knew that their faith in God would get him to “transplant day.” Brandon’s father, Sean, pastors the Tecumseh Church of God.
The donor of the $15,000 remains anonymous, but McClure said after hearing Brandon’s story he said, “This is something I am moved to do; let’s get Brandon healthy!”
In March, Brandon was struggling with an infection and needed surgery before he could even consider having the transplant. He has to undergo peritoneal dialysis at home on a regular basis, being hooked up to a machine for about 10 hours each night.
With the surgery he needed following the infection now behind him, Brandon has been busy taking part in things that other kids do during their senior year, including taking his girlfriend, Merissa McClure, to the Tecumseh Prom at Washtenaw Community College on April 28. Tecumseh Trolley and Limo donated a portion of the fee for a limo to Brandon, and he shared the limo with Merissa and several of their friends.
Brandon was born with End Stage Renal Disease and did not have function of his right kidney, and it was removed at age 10. A short time ago, his left kidney began to fail. Doctors at University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital recommended that he have the kidney transplant.
Brandon’s mother, Carol Ann, has stepped forward to donate her kidney after both she and Brandon’s father were tested.
“There was never a doubt in my mind that I would do it,” she said.
While actual transplants can cost $250,000-$500,000, at least $40,000 in funds had to be raised in Brandon’s honor through COTA, a nonprofit charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant needy patients.
McClure said the Rodgers family is hoping to schedule the transplant surgery following graduation, probably in late June.