Update: Corey Zaretsky finished the TCS NYC Marathon in 04:57:43 Congrats to him!
“I’m trying to think of what would be the most torturous exercise for you to do,” Corey Zaretsky said to his brother, Matty, while at the gym.
There's nothing quite like brotherly love!
"What is this? No rests, no catching your breath,” Corey joked. “Whenever you’re ready!”
Corey and Matty Zaretsky share a lot; hobbies, a sense of humor and even an apartment. But their bond runs much deeper than most siblings.
“I always knew I would do anything I could to help him," Corey said.
“I was born with something called Nail-Patella Syndrome (NPS), it’s a very rare physical disability,” Matty explained. "I cannot straighten my arms and I have very small patellas."
“It affects your bones, your muscles, your eyes, your teeth, and your nails,” Corey added.
From an early age, both knew Matty was unique.
“He was always sick growing up, but not in the way the way most people are sick," Corey remembered. "He came across like more fatigued.”
“I tried everything I could do, I loved baseball,” Matty smiled. “My brother actually taught me how to throw by basically telling me to step, aim, throw and if I missed, I had to go chase the ball!”
But in 2013, his health declined quickly, as he suffered from severe pancreatitis.
“Your pancreas basically gets inflamed and it’s very excruciating,” Matty described. "The pancreatitis actually exacerbated my kidneys and that’s what caused my kidneys to fail.”
He lost his pancreas, developed Type 1 diabetes and soon went on dialysis, in dire need of a new kidney. Corey had alway been there for his little brother and this time would be no different.
“My mom has lupus and my dad’s had two heart attacks, so it was always known that it wasn’t going to come from them,” Corey said. “The risk of not having Matty in my life was way too big for me to not do it.”
He went through days of intense testing to make sure he was a match and able to handle the transplant, physically, mentally and emotionally. Both surgeries were a success.
“It took me about six months to kind of get used to it but for once I was kind of living in his shoes and he was living in my shoes,” Corey said.
“I’m feeling very good, I still have moments where I’m fatigued,” Matty said. "I’d like to sit here and tell you yes, Corey gave me a kidney and everything is great, but that’s not a reality for people with physical disability, there’s always a fight every day.”
Matty already does more than some may have ever expected, like going to the gym. And he's using social media to inspire others.
“I put up these videos and use #TheRealWolverine," he explained. "Basically I try to motivate people with physical disabilities.”
“I’m also running to raise awareness about future organ donors," he said. "It’s really important to me that you know you can donate an organ and it’s not an end all be all.”
He hopes to make a difference with every step he takes, as for Matty?
"My goal in life is I want people like me to feel empowered, I want people like Corey to be celebrated and I want more people to donate organs,” he said.
A mutual mission, these best friends will take on together, like only loving brothers truly can.
If you'd like to follow Corey's journey during the TCS New York City Marathon, be sure to download the TCS NYC Marathon app and type in bib number: 48126
* As of 1/11/16 121,678 people currently on transplant list waiting for organs of that #, 100,971 await kidneys (82%)
* 8,000 people die every year waiting for an organ to be donated - 22 people each day
* Every 10 minutes another person is added to the national organ waiting list