SLINGER -- They received a life-saving transplant in 2018, and the Schmitz family in Cedarburg wants other families to have that same opportunity. With that in mind, they hosted a fundraiser at Little Switzerland Saturday, Feb. 22. Families raced downhill to help those facing an uphill battle during the 2020 Cheese Shred.
A broken thumb kept Andrew Schmitz from snowboarding, but a rare genetic disorder almost took his life, had he not received a bone marrow transplant in 2018.
"The gift of life is one of the most valuable things you could give someone," said Mike Schmitz, Andrew's father.
Be The Match found Andrew's perfect match. With the disorder out of the picture, his family, which owns Little Switzerland in Slinger, felt it was their turn to help.
"Just want other people to have the same outcome, and have the chance at the same thing Andrew got, which really saved his life," said Mike Schmitz.
Part of the proceeds from food and drinks, special contests, and a silent auction were donated to help Be The Match continue its work matching donors with recipients.
"I had no idea how lucky Andrew was to find a perfect match, and then, to find out that there's people that don't have a perfect match, I thought, 'What can we do to help?'" said Rick Schmitz, Andrew's uncle. "'How can we do anything to make that better and support this great organization?'"
The Schmitz family signed up skiers and snowboarders by the dozens to grow the Be The Match Donor Registry.
"You fill out a few forms online," said Rick Schmitz. "They mail you the kit. You swab your own cheek and mail it in. It's super easy and simple."
They also planned a late-night shred, with $10 from each lift ticket benefiting Be The Match -- hoping to raise $20,000 through the event.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Be The Match.