NORTH FORK PATCH: Inspired By Life, Man Saved By Kidney Transplant Spotlights Awareness (03/13/2017
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
A man whose life was saved after his wife's childhood best friend donated her kidney will remain forever grateful.
And now, Matthew Botchler has created a new Facebook contest featuring his beautiful wood carvings as a way to raise awareness during National Kidney Month in March and in April, National Donate Life Month — so that the lives of others might be saved.
"I'm hoping to do a giveaway for one of my wood-turned pieces. To enter or be eligible you have to be a registered organ donor in the state you live in. Also show proof of that and, by the end of month, I'll put all the names in a bowl and do a Facebook live, pick the name, and announce it," he wrote on his Facebook page.
Botchler said his goal for the March contest is to create awareness surrounding kidney disease and the importance of kidney health.
"I wanted to reward those you who help spread this awareness by giving them one of my hand turned woodworking pieces, which is made by someone who has survived kidney disease and a kidney transplant," he said.
And, he said, since April is Organ Donor Awareness month, "I will be doing another contest in April for which people who are registered organ donors — they must provide proof that they are organ donors— will be entered into the contest to be eligible for one of my hand turned wooden bowls."
Botchler was facing the most terrifying challenge of his life when he found himself in need of a kidney. He and his then-fiance Megan McIver— the two were married in October — worked to spread the news of his story in a desperate race for time.
And then, her childhood best friend — a lifetime bond was formed in Southold — Alexandra Lawson stepped up to donate the kidney that gave Botchler a second chance and life and love.
In past years, he's found deep meaning and inspiration in woodturning, or using a wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut the wood, creating beautiful, one-of-a kind pens, wine stoppers, bowls and other pieces.
Bringing awareness to kidney disease is a mission to which he's devoted his life, Botchler said.
"It is critical because by raising awareness and educating people, not only can they prevent themselves from getting kidney disease, but they can also be advocates for others. Most people do not know they are in kidney failure until it is too late and must be put on dialysis to live. Regular check ups with your primary care doctor assist in identifying signs that your kidneys might be failing," he said.
Working with his hands has brought deep peace, even during the darkest of days before his transplant, Botchler said.
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