NewsPay It Forward


“Crack the Coach” raises money for organ transplants

Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 08:17:31-04

KENTWOOD, Mich-- A local gym raised more than $900 over the weekend for Mercy Health's Transplant Center.

On Saturday, Title Boxing Club in Kentwood held an event called "Crack the Coach" to collect donations for the cause. Each trainer had a bucket with their name written on it and had to perform a burpee for each dollar collected.

The event was especially meaningful to Title's general manager, Natalie Russo, who recently celebrated the one year anniversary of receiving a kidney transplant at Mercy Health's Transplant Center.

"The team over at Mercy Health were the ones that got me through that transplant and really helped me and so that's what inspired it. I wanted to give back to them because they gave so much to me," said Russo. "It was amazing because it's so personal to me obviously for me having a transplant and knowing others that are waiting for a transplant so to see people whose heart went out to that cause it was amazing."

Russo received her kidney from her husband, Mike Frias. The couple met on and just weeks after they began dating, Russo discovered she'd need a new kidney. The couple underwent the procedure on March 21, 2016 and married in June of that year.

“It’ll be a great story for my children to know. That I was part of giving your mom a second life,” Frias told FOX 17 during an interview ahead of their transplant anniversary, which the couple refers to as their "Kindey-Versary".

Russo and Title Boxing are hoping to make "Crack the Coach" an annual event.

Donations are still being accepted on behalf of the gym's fundraiser.

Russo is hoping her story will lead to more people registering to become Organ Donors.