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Carew, donor's family reunite on Donor Day

Hall of Famer: 'Konrad and I are going to be running all over this country'
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mary Reuland admitted that it was the most difficult phone call she has ever made in her life.

Last December, exactly one day after Konrad Reuland's funeral, Mary started gathering information and making the connection that her son's organs had been donated to Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Shortly after, Mary decided to give Rod's wife, Rhonda, a call, in hopes they could meet.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Mary Reuland admitted that it was the most difficult phone call she has ever made in her life.

Last December, exactly one day after Konrad Reuland's funeral, Mary started gathering information and making the connection that her son's organs had been donated to Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Shortly after, Mary decided to give Rod's wife, Rhonda, a call, in hopes they could meet.

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"I called her and said, 'Hey listen, my name is Mary Reuland and I think your husband may have my son's heart and kidney. Call if you want to talk,'" Reuland said during a news conference at Target Field before Friday's Twins game against the D-backs. "She called a couple days later and the rest is pretty much history."

Video: Carew reunites with family of heart, kidney donor

Carew, who played with the Twins from 1967-78, suffered a massive heart attack while golfing near his home in Southern California on Sept. 20, 2015. He was then dealing with life-threatening complications around the time that Konrad passed away at age 29 with a brain aneurysm.

Konrad, a tight end for the Ravens and Jets for three seasons, signed up to be an organ donor because of a conversation years before with his mother. Mary admitted that she elected to be an organ donor, in order to potentially help people, and Konrad did the same.

Video: Carew discusses health as he recovers from surgery

And as a result, it was Carew, an 18-time All-Star and seven-time batting champion, who was saved by Konrad's heart and kidney.

"I never once thought I was going to die," Carew said. "I knew that coming through this, all I want to do and continue doing is to do whatever I can to help other people survive. Because he gave me a second chance at life, I'm going to take advantage of it. Konrad and I are going to be running all over this country."

The Reuland family threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Carew as the Twins celebrated Donor Day at Target Field on Friday.

Video: Rod Carew discusses his heart transplant

Before and during the game the Twins, LifeSource, the National Kidney Foundation and Kidney Specialist of Minnesota celebrated Carew and honoring donors and donor families.

"It's so comforting to know a part of him is still up here and he is doing what he did in life. He loved to help people," Mary Reuland said. "Konrad is looking down and smiling. He's giving us a different way to try and raise awareness and help people."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins