SAN MATEO, Calif. (KTVU) - Tom Brady has thrown for over 46 miles of passing yards, 590 touchdowns, and 6 Super Bowl wins. But, the New England Patriot’s quarterback’s biggest victories are far from the football field.
"He does it so quietly. It's amazing. We get checks in the mail and we know it's from him, but we can't tell anyone,” said Paul Dooley the CEO of Matching Donors.com.
The New England based nonprofit matches living organ donors with transplant patients. The current wait for a kidney is seven to ten years. On MatchingDonors.com patients can receive a transplant as quickly as six months. Matching Donors has already saved over 600 lives.
Tom Brady’s connection is through former College of San Mateo quarterback coach Tom Martinez.
“Without Tom Martinez there would be no Tom Brady in the NFL,” said Tom Brady Sr. Tom’s father.
Martinez was Brady mentor. The two talked weekly. Martinez was Brady’s go-to guy whenever he needed a tune up on his technique. Martinez was waiting for kidney on Matching-Donors.com in 2009, and that’s when Brady stepped in.
“He put it out to the entire world. He talked before the Super Bowl about Matching-Donors.com and the need for Tom Martinez needing a transplant. We got a lot of donors. Hundreds of them. Seventeen that matched Tom Martinez,” Dooley said.
Sadly, Martinez died of a heart attack just two weeks before his transplant in 2012, but seven years later Tom Brady has not forgotten. He quietly continues to auction off memorabilia and fundraise in his coach’s memory for the Tom Martinez Goal Line Foundation, which raises awareness for organ donation and Matching Donors.
“He never said no to us. He never said no to the Martinez family. He offered without asking. He’s such a great guy. He’s an amazing person,” said Dooley.
“Charity should be part of our DNA,” said Tom Brady Sr.
Tom’s father knew long ago that his son had a gift. Football was his sport, but while the San Mateo native was making his mark in the NFL he never forgot his roots, and all the hard work it took to get him there. Managing celebrity isn’t easy, but Brady seems to be handling it very well.
"Football is transitory. It's something that he'll play for another 2-5 years whatever it might be, but the rest of his life he's a part of the human race. And if he can help make everyone around him a little bit more happy, healthy, or comfortable in their lives that's what he would like to do,” said Tom Sr.
There are currently 114,000 people waiting on the national transplant list. Over 8,000 die each year.