Rod Carew, U.S. Marine Corp vet, Hall of Fame baseball player, member of the "3,000 hit club", suffered a massive heart attack in September 2015, one doctors described as a "widow maker", his heart damaged beyond repair. Doctors inserted a heart device, said it wouldn't save him, then sent him home to die, suffering from both heart and kidney failure.
Konrad Reuland was a California kid, born and raised down in Mission Viejo, California. He played tight end on his high school football team but was not good enough to be drafted out of college. Yet, Konrad had a lot of fighting spirit and the San Francisco 49ers saw that in him, and signed him up.
Konrad would go on to play in the NFL for a few years, first with the Niners, then the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.
So, four days after Thanksgiving last year, Konrad Reuland suffered a brain aneurism, was admitted to the hospital but the doctors couldn't save him. He died just two weeks before Christmas.
But Konrad had a gift for Hall of Famer Rod Carew...a little organ donor card in his wallet.
So four days later, just a week before Christmas Rod Carew, Hall of Famer, Marine Corp vet, received the heart and kidneys of young Konrad Reuland, he of The Fighting Irish and Stanford Cardinals, gladiator of the gridiron.
Rod Carew's uniform number in his playing days was "29". That number 29 hangs on a banner in the baseball stadium of Minnesota Twins, and in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Konrad Reuland died at age 29. And "29" means a lot more to Rod Carew these days...far more than a number on the back of a baseball uniform. Rod Carew, with his spanking new heart, now goes about the country promoting an organ donation program called "Heart of 29".
...the heart of a champion....