Rod Carew's new heart, kidney came from late NFL player

Getty Images

Getty Images

It's an absolutely incredible story, one that tugs at your heart like no other.

The story details a chance meeting between Carew and an 11-year-old Reuland, who died at age 29. "I started hearing from so many people, 'Is it Rod Carew?' Then, I couldn't let it go". She connected with Rhonda, and they bonded nearly immediately.

'We have a long way to go together'. But a kidney went to a women in her 60s, his liver went to a man in his 50s, and his heart and other kidney went to a 71-year-old man in Southern California: Rod Carew.

A backup for the large majority of his playing career, Reuland will not be remembered for his playing days, but what he gave to Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew.

But Carew's wife, Rhonda, and Reuland's mother, Mary, figured out that the former National Football League player, who died at age 29, gave new life to the 71-year-old baseball Hall of Famer. When Reuland's mother, Mary, saw Carew, she hugged him and said: "You're part of our family now".

" 'You know I met Rod Carew!' " Mary recalled him saying. It was really kind of cute.

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The story broke on the Baltimore Ravens website in a story entitled, "The Heart of a Raven", published on April 14.

When the families met in person for the first time, in a visit coordinated by the AHA on March 2, one of the first things Mary did was lean her head against Carew's chest.

The Reulands each took a stethoscope and listened to Konrad's heart in Carew's chest, the heart association said.

As noted, Reuland was 29 when he died.

She told the American Heart Association that at first it was "too farfetched" that Reuland would be the donor. Reuland was an organ donor; after he died in December, his heart and a kidney went to Carew, who desperately needed a heart.

Finally, the grieving mom was able to get Rhonda's cellphone number, the Orange County Register reported. Once again, she heard her son's heart pumping.

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Carew had a heart attack while at a golf course in September 2015.

While such a wide age discrepancy might seem odd, the key factor was Hepatitis B. Both were immune.

"When he looked at me in total disbelief, that's when I knew he truly understood it", Rhonda told the American Heart Association.

"Does it sound the same?" He was 29. Over the final hours Mary spent with her oldest child, she kept her right ear on his chest.

Doctors found a subdural hematoma in Carew's brain last July, which caused hallucinations and kept him from being eligible for a transplant until November 18 of this year.

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