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.
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.
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
MADISON - A suspended University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of sexually assaulting and harassing nearly a dozen women has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.
Twenty-year-old Alec Cook faces a total of 21 counts, including strangulation, sexual assault, stalking and false imprisonment involving 10 women dating back to March 2015. Five of the charges are misdemeanors. The rest are felonies.
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