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I was awoken to a phone call. 4:30am and the phone read ‘dad’. My mom had recently been diagnosed with Leukemia, but I had spoken with her only hours before. At midnight. I think in life there’s certain circumstances, scenarios, whatever you want to call it. Where you know the exact outcome, before having to react. And this was one of those circumstances. I continued to let the phone ring, knowing what was on the other side. I took a deep breath. And with a shaky hand… I answered.

My dad informed me that my mom was being airlifted from Beaumont, Royal Oak to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She was in a coma. The next moments I still can’t recall. But your mind runs. For one, I didn’t understand how I spoke to her just hours before. We talked about how she missed the dogs. How we’d have a party when she’s better. And now this? It did not make sense.

I reluctantly called my sister and left for the hospital. When I arrived, my dad escorted me to the room. It was like a movie. You never think it could happen to you and here it was. My mom, right in front of me, in a coma. Only not. It looked nothing like her. She was jaundice. And I couldn’t understand why. In a blur, morning came to afternoon, and afternoon to night. My mom had become the “sickest patient in the hospital” and it was time to make a decision. We had to let her go.

As everyone walked out of the room, I asked the nurse one question. “Why is my mom jaundice?” The doctor replied, “It could be number of things, but it’s a common side effect to consistent prescription drug use.” My mom, like most people had been given prescription pain killers for continued back problems. Leukemia killed her, but prescription pills caused her liver to fail in the fight.

Fast forward a couple months and I’m picking up the pieces at Central Michigan University. Times were hard. My grandma died only months later, and to make matters worse, a family member had hired a crooked attorney to forge her will. Taking the funds I counted on for school and my future. Like I said, basically a movie.

I was diagnosed with PTSD and recommended to see a therapist. I’ll admit, it was nice to talk to someone. When you lose a significant loved one, part of you leaves that room with them. And you need to do your best to be honest and talk. Which I did. After my second visit my therapist recommended some prescription medication. I realized the benefits some perscription medications may have, but at this point I was completely against it. And honestly, it may have been the best recommendation my therapist could have made. Because I never had that prescription filled. And I never went back.

I decided I wanted to handle this on my own. You have a choice: You can let this shit bring you down or you can handle it. No matter how hard it may be. You see, I had a great backing- My mom, aunt, and grandma all died from some sort of disease, they all loved me dearly. They were kind, smart, caring, generous, absolutely amazing people. I could not let them down, so, I fought, struggled, and searched. I then found Crossfit.

Now, I am sure plenty of people have an eye roll going on or maybe a little chuckle. Might not be for everyone, but CrossFit instilled some great values in me that helped me get my life back together: Self-discipline, time-management, and family. Crossfit helped me dedicate myself to something. It also opened my eyes to alternative medicine.

At that time, many athletes I knew, and CrossFit athletes around the country were starting to use CBD for different forms of relief. Therefore, I decided to give it a try.

During the early stages after my moms passing, my anxiety was at an all time high. I would shake, have night terrors, night sweats, even have anxiety to the point where I would have to breath in a paper bag. I was to my breaking point. Honestly even a little scared. I looked up the top CBD company at that time, and put an order in for a 1500mg tincture, and a CBD balm.

The results were startling. For the first time since I could remember, I was anxiety free for a duration of time, and could sleep for the entire night. Now let me be clear, I was not ALWAYS anxiety free. I would take the tincture, it would help for a couple hours, and I would take it again. Nonetheless, I was sold.

As years progressed, so did CBD. This was a natural alternative that basically did everything prescription medications were claiming to do. With little to no side effects. I became more infatuated with the idea of opening a CBD company. I just wasn’t sure how. At that time, I had just moved home to Livonia, Michigan after working as a Strength and Conditioning coach for a company called EXOS in Chicago. I was tired of CBD companies taking advantage of an unregulated CBD market and wanted to make a change. I wanted to show people how this product had helped me, and I wanted to do it in an honest way. If these CBD companies could grow off skimping numbers and distrust, I knew I could grow a company with trusted sponsors and lab testing. I wanted to build trust. But, I wasn’t sure how to acquire the funds to do so.

Then came DraftKings. Those who don’t know, DraftKings is daily fantasy slates. Basically fantasy sports on the daily. Anyways, I won some money through DraftKings, convinced my dad to split the cost and was able to open Serenity Medical CBD. Fortunately for me, I had some talented friends who helped me get started on the project right away. My father also has a good friend who came on the staff as our Pharmacist. I wanted our recipes to be made with the best ingredients possible. Therefore, we decided to have our staff pharmacist create the recipes. From there, the logo was drawn, lab testing was ensured, and the THC Free guarantee was promised. Serenity Medical CBD was born.

Fast forward to today, Mother’s Day. Serenity Medical CBD has been open about 5 months and growing this company has become my passion. I love helping people. Helping people in a natural way is something I am lucky to do. I guess that’s why I wrote this article. Since that day, May 9th, 2012, I never put what happened and my thoughts on paper. My hope is that my story can help someone. For me, shit got low. The world can take a lot from you, but you can’t let it take your optimism. It’s cliché but it’s true. Staying optimistic and positive can make all the difference. Going forward with this company I am extremely optimistic. No matter what happens, it can get better. Find what you love and let it drive you.



  1. Tom Pashkot
    February 27, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Your mom would be so proud of you Matt. I am glad to see you are so successful! I look forward to trying the products out!

  2. Matt Kowalis
    March 2, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Appreciate the kind words Tom! Appreciate your support! Looking forward to growing even more in 2022. Hope all is well my friend!

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