Since 1997 Stetzel, who is the general manager at the Wyndham Hotel – formerly known as the Ramada Plaza Hotel – has called Warsaw his home. Through his job, Stetzel has become a well-known and respected business man, serving on a number of boards and being actively involved in his church and organizations that serve both people and the community.
About five years ago, Stetzel started noticing some health concerns. After undergoing testing, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a disorder causing clusters of cysts to develop primarily within the kidneys. “I’ve had poor kidney function for the last 5 years,” he said. “I’ve undergone dialysis for the last two years and I’m on the (national) donor list.”
The cysts, while noncancerous, contain water-like fluid and result in abdominal swelling. “My cysts are the size of volleyballs,” explained Stetzel, noting that the result of the swelling can and does cause nausea and discomfort.
His wife, Chris Stetzel, explains that kidney failure is a concern for people with polycystic kidney disease which greatly varies in severity. In Stetzel’s case, the dialysis is controlling the disease, but it requires four hours per day three times each week. Ultimately, a kidney transplant is still needed. And that is where Courtney Stetzel, Matt Hoskins, Justin Farrell and Scott Feather enter the story.
Courtney is Stetzel’s daughter and works as an assistant community manager for Pay Pro Media, which is owned by Hoskins. Farrell is the company’s chief operations officer and Feather is the community manager. Pay Pro Media specializes in website design and promotion. It was from Pay Pro Media where the concept to use social media to help Stetzel find a kidney donor was born.
Farrell explained that Hoskins turned the project over to him with a very basic idea: to gain awareness of Stetzel’s medical needs and set out to help find a donor. “We didn’t really know what we were going to do, but we knew we could do something,” he said.
The team at Pay Pro Media started fumbling around with the basic plan and decided the first step was to set up a Facebook page. “But there was the issue of what do we call it?” added Feather, who said it was community manager Paul Kent who accidentally stumbled on the name of the project. Feather recalled, “He said, ‘So what you’re saying is, you’re trying to get one person one kidney.’ And that was it! That was the name.”
Farrell said the immediate goal is to help Stetzel find a kidney donor but the longterm goal for both the Facebook page and the actual domain is to help hundreds if not thousands more people. “We think this can help other people, but it’s one person, one kidney … we want to focus on one person at a time, and right now it’s about Mike,” Farrell said.
Stetzel’s medical need is being featured on the Facebook page until he receives his donor kidney. While he is on the national donor list where he awaits a deceased donor match, living donors are also able to help.
The human body requires only one functioning kidney to survive. Opting to undergo the elective surgery is a selfless sacrifice and Stetzel and his wife know that it will take a very special person. “We had someone who we thought was going to be able to help, but he approached us and told us that, for personal reasons, he wasn’t going to be able to,” said Chris Stetzel. “We understand and we’re so appreciative to him for even considering it. I have so much respect for him for being honest with us. We know it’s not a simple request.”
All donor medical expenses are covered and Stetzel’s mother, Pat Bergs, is planning fundraisers to help with any other expenses anyone who can help her son with a kidney donation may require. The thought is that any donations collected will be put in a fund to be used either for a donor for Stetzel, or for other donors who may be able to help other patients.
Anyone who wishes to be tested to see if he or she would be a compatible donor for Stetzel, may call his donor coordinator, Kelly Coffee, at 800-382-4602 and refer to Mike Stetzel.
StaceyPageOnline.com will continue to follow Stetzel’s story.