December 24, 2018 07:55 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- A southeastern Wisconsin teenager known for his large gift to Rochester's Ronald McDonald House Charities is continuing his giving through a blanket drive for kidney dialysis patients at Mayo Clinic.
ABC 6 News first introduced viewers to then-16-year-old Seth Bayles in July 2017, when he collected more than one million pop tabs for his "second home." During an interview, he met ABC 6's chief photojournalist Chad Corey, who undergoes multiple weekly dialysis treatments as he waits for a kidney transplant. The two became friends and kept in touch, and when visiting Chad at dialysis one day, Seth had an idea.
"We noticed he was wearing a winter hat," Seth's mom Julie said. "He seemed kind of cold and his mother had explained that the blood upon re-entry is a bit cool and after the process of three to four hours, you become chilled. Seth left here and he said, 'Mom, I want to do something.'"
Julie said Seth at first wanted to donate a kidney, but due to his ongoing autoimmune system issues that weren't realistic. Then he came up with the idea to donate blankets to keep Chad and the other dialysis patients warm during treatment.
"My buddy, he told me that it is cold and I'm just like, 'Wow, I want to give blankets. I want to make sure they get some comfy blankets and just like a little gift for the holidays, just something that they can do to keep warm,'" Seth said.
Seth took his case online, and collected a total of 459 blankets, easily beating his goal of 100. He delivered them earlier this month, including a special hand-tied Vikings blanket for Chad.
"He's been through a lot so it's hard to imagine dealing everything he does but at the same time doing stuff like this and giving back to others," Chad said. "It's pretty amazing obviously for somebody... we're not family, we're not necessarily blood, to see all these people from other places who don't even know me take time and some money and donate blankets and see people that might need them."
Seth said he's just glad he's able to return the favor after so many have helped him along his journey.
"I'm just so glad I'm so blessed that we can give all of these blankets to all the patients and more patients because of just the drive having way more than my goal," he said.
Seth's story resonated with one Mayo Clinic doctor earlier in 2018, who surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers fan with what he thought was a football signed by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It turned out the signature was fake, which led Roethlisberger to send Seth and Dr. Stulak the real deal.
Created: December 24, 2018 07:55 PM
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