MERRILL - Organ donors give many people a second chance at life. A Merrill teen saved many lives after he died in a car accident in 2009.
Story By Karolina Buczek
Jordan Buehler's organs were given to people who were on the organ waiting list for a long time. Matthew Meyer is one of them.
"I was near death, two steps from death's doorway," said Matt Meyer. "Now, I have a brand new life."
Meyer will never forget the amazing gift Buehler gave him: the gift of life.
"I was born with only one kidney and it was golf ball sized. The doctors always knew it was going to fail. They just didn't know when," explained Meyer. "Then, I hit puberty and started growing like crazy. I grew like five inches. Eventually, my kidney just couldn't keep up anymore so I started kidney failure."
Matt's family members tried to give him one of their kidneys. But, doctors couldn't find a good match.
"I rejected my entire family for a new kidney," said Meyer.
Then, he started getting very sick.
"Dialysis stopped working for me. I started retaining all the water. I was carrying around 40 extra pounds of water weight," explained Meyer.
Matt was put on the organ waiting list in June 2009.
It was up to a stranger to save his life. Jordan Buehler did just that.
Jordan died in a car accident in November of 2009. His parents donated his organs after they found his organ donor sticker on his driver's license.
"Parts of him can live on and he can do good for other people, whether he knows it or not," explained Jordan's parents, Bryan and Joleen Buehler.
Doctors decided to give Jordan's kidney to Matt.
"I got a call at 11:45 at night on the 25th of November saying they had a kidney in Madison, Wisconsin. Within 15 minutes, we were on the road, driving up," said Meyer.
The moment was bittersweet for the Meyer family.
"[I thought] oh my gosh, he's finally going to get better. Oh my gosh, something happened to somebody. They told us there was an auto accident in Northern Wisconsin," explained Matt's parents, Karen and Jim Meyer.
In the operating room, doctors were hopeful that Jordan's kidney would save Matt's life.
"They told me the kidney started working right then and there. Even before they sewed me back up," said Meyer.
Matt quickly got better, but he wanted to know more about the person who saved his life.
"I was very curious. I wanted to see who it was and what he was like. But I couldn't contact the family because I thought it was too soon," said Meyer.
Five years later, Matt reached out to the Buehler family.
"It's my five-year anniversary and I wanted to meet the family. I wanted to see who brought me new life," said Meyer.
In between tears and smiles, Matt showed the Buehler family the tattoo he got in Jordan's memory.
"He's shocked us with his tattoo on his arm. It was very nice for him to do that. It shows us how appreciative he is for a second chance at life," explained Jordan's father, Bryan.
The Meyer family got the chance to show how grateful they are for Jordan's gift.
"Jordan will always be a part of our family. In March, we wish him happy birthday and we thank him every thanksgiving and pray for the family," said Matt's parents.
The families will forever share a special bond.
To become an organ donor, all you have to do is select the donor option when you apply for a license or ID card. You can also apply online. The link is attached below.
Organ Donor Sign Up