GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The family behind one of West Michigan's favorite comic book shops is encouraging people to consider becoming living organ donors after dad received a life-saving liver transplant from his son.
Don Myers has spent almost his entire life in love with comics. In 2016 his family, including daughter Michelle Kastanek, encouraged him to fulfill a long-time dream of opening up his own shop.
“He has about 30,000 comics still in the basement and this was supposed to be his way of getting rid of them,” Michelle told FOX 17 Wednesday.
They never did end up clearing out Don's collection. In fact, the store and community around it has been growing substantially over the 4 years that Comic Signal open.
“We have all worked together to establish this store and make dad's dream come true,” Michelle said.
But recently the family was confronted with a situation more troubling than many of those found in the page's of Don's favorite comics.
"My dad has autoimmune hepatitis of the liver,” Michelle explained.
“It was eventually decided on that the only way for him to move forward was to get a liver transplant. So about two and a half years ago, he was put on the liver donor list and we waited.”
Soon a hero would emerge— Michelle's brother Derek stepped up and offered to give his father half of his liver.
“On June 8, we got the transplant and it went really well,” Michelle said.
Now the family has designed a shirt that reads Be a hero - Be an organ donor on the front and Someone I know lives because of organ donation on the back.
They are selling the shirts at Comic Signal (4316 Plainfield Ave NE) for just $14.99.
“And all proceeds are going to go back to the Henry Ford living liver donation program because they have been such an amazing help to us through this whole process with both my brother and my dad,” Michelle said.
She tells FOX 17 that both her father and her brother are eager to get back into the store, especially after being out for several months already during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The family is asking friends and fans of the store to use the hashtag #ComicSignalStrong in social media posts so that Don and Derek will be able to see what everyone is up to while they recover in bed.
Don will also be spending much of his recovery time catching up with his beloved comic books.
“My parents have an apartment now in Detroit while they're recovering, and we had to load up the boxes of comic books, so that he could he could read them. And then every week we have to bring the new comics,” Michelle told FOX 17.
She says her dad also now has access to the internet so he can read any messages friends and loved ones send his way.
"They are both doing okay. We're hoping dad will get discharged soon and my brother just has a few more tests to look at before he can be released," Michelle said.