Three-time Super Bowl champion. Two-time Super Bowl MVP. Two-time NFL MVP. Seven-time Pro Bowler.Those are just a few of the major accomplishments in the Hall of Fame career of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and he can add to that list this weekend when the Patriots play in Super Bowl XLVI.While it's easy to credit Bill Belichick, Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels as the coaches who have helped Brady become the superstar he is, one guiding hand has been with him since he was 13.That hand belongs to quarterback guru Tom Martinez of Menlo Park. Brady gives Martinez credit for developing him into the quarterback he is to this day, dating back to camps he attended as a teen. "(Tom's) been a great friend of mine for a very long time and taught me how to throw a football at a very young age." --Tom Brady
I sat down with Martinez at his home this past week to discuss Bradys pending trip to the Super Bowl, and their long, personal history.
The main reason for my visit was for a much more serious reason though. Martinez needs a kidney transplant; and he needs the transplant to happen as soon as possible.The longtime coach at the College of San Mateo has diabetes and has suffered kidney failure.Days are not easy for Martinez and his wife Olivia as they continue to look for a matching donor through many resources. Besides the daily fatigue due to his condition, Martinez has faced major roadblocks.We have been refused by two hospitals to be a candidate for transplant, UCLA was one of them, Martinez said. We were just told 'Nope, youre not acceptable to us.' To my wife and I, that was devastating. It was depressing. I dont like the word depressed but it was depressing."When Tom Brady turns out to be part of the solution, its unbelievable." --Tom MartinezThis is where Brady comes back into the picture.In December, Brady took to his Facebook page to spread the word about his mentors need for a new kidney. Martinez says that about 60 people responded to Bradys post throughMatchingDonors.com; a site giving people in need of a transplant a way to find a matching donor. Forty of those people were serious about helping Martinez, something he says would not have happened without the help of Brady.When Tom Brady turns out to be part of the solution, its unbelievable, Martinez said. You have gone through rejection and people dont believe in you. Youre trying to explain to people I dont know if I am going to make it or not. I dont know how long I am going to live, but I am going to fight from A to Z, and I will give you my best shot the whole time.It really is an amazing story. A quarterback who Martinez says reached the mountain top is using his celebrity platform in an effort to save his mentors life."He's been a great friend of mine for a very long time and taught me how to throw a football at a very young age," said Brady, who starred at Serra High School in San Mateo. "He's been looking for a kidney for quite a while.While there has been increased interest from the public to find Martinez a donor, he is still waiting to find a match.It was clear from our conversation that no matter what the future holds, Martinez couldnt be more thankful for what his star pupil has done for him over the last couple months."Without Tom Martinez, Tom Brady would not
have been the quarterback of the New England Patriots." --Tom BradyWhat he is giving me is an opportunity to live longer, so I cant thank him enough. Yet we have the kind of relationship where we dont have to thank each other, Martinez said. It is understood that there is nothing that I wouldnt do for him and there is nothing he probably wouldnt do for me.Martinez plans to watch this weekends Super Bowl at his home in Menlo Park with family and friends. The only way those plans fall through is because of possible good news; a trip to Johns Hopkins Hospital where he could receive a life-saving kidney transplant.It's safe to say that while Martinez and his family would love to watch Brady play in the biggest stage in all of football from the comfort of their home, there would be no better news than that of finding a donor.So while Brady may be a three-time Super Bowl Champion, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP and a seven-time Pro Bowler; his effort to find ONE matching donor could make all the difference in the world.Tom Brenner is an associate producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area