On September 20th, 2015, baseball legend Rod Carew suffered a massive heart attack. Although the type he suffered is often called a “widow-maker”, Rod survived. He was then kept alive by a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) surgically implanted in his ailing heart. The LVAD is a temporary (and basically only) solution for someone who needs a heart transplant.
Sir Rodney (as my Mom calls him), received his heart transplant yesterday, along with a new kidney. The Twins released the following statement earlier today:
The entire Minnesota Twins family is happy to report thatRod Carew had a successful heart and kidney transplant surgery today at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and is expected to make a full recovery. After a 13-hour procedure that started shortly after midnight Pacific time, Rod is resting in recovery. We ask that all of Twins Territory and the entire baseball community keep Rod, his wife Rhonda, and the entire Carew family in your thoughts and prayers as Rod recovers."
The 71-year-old Carew suffered a heart attack on September 20, 2015 and shortly thereafter had a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implanted in his heart, which was a temporary solution to keep his heart pacing. The seven-time American League batting champion and first-ballot Hall of Famer later partnered with the Twins on the "Heart of 29" campaign, a year-long effort to raise funds for the American Heart Association.
While it is incredible news that Rod Carew had a successful transplant surgery, it also necessarily means something else: Someone had to die to give Rodney his new heart.
Whoever that person was, I want to thank them—and not because Sir Rodney’s life was more important than their’s. Not at all. I have no idea who the donor was, and I don’t think Carew is more important than them. They were someone’s daughter or son, perhaps someone’s brother or sister, and maybe even someone’s mother or father. All of that is incredibly important.
But here’s the thing: Only 3 in 1000 people die in a way that allows them to donate their organs, and while 95% of US citizens support organ donation, only 48% of them actually sign up to be organ donors.
22 people die everyday waiting for an organ transplant.
Whoever it was who signed up, and, in-fact, ended up donating their heart will never know that it went to one of the greatest baseball players of all time. They won’t know that it went to a son, a husband, and a father, to someone who has brought so much joy to so many people. But guess what? Whoever it was who did it donated their organs anyway, without knowing any of this, because that’s just something you should do for anyone, not just Rod Carew.
Please, sign up to be an organ donor.