A Brother’s Love
Most fans around Major League Baseball who have heard the name “Eckstein” in the past automatically put the face of young Energizer bunny David Eckstein in minds. But there is another Eckstein brother who’s name currently has the MLB community buzzing about him.
I decided on this Day Five of my “all charity week” to post a story about Rick Eckstein, who is the current Nationals hitting coach. During the 2010 off season, Eckstein did something I find so unselfish and phenominal that it is almost beyond words.
There is also a third brother in the Eckstein clan, older brother Ken, who was advised during the 2010 MLB season that he would need an additional kidney transplant. Both David and Rick instantly took the necessary tests to see if they were a compatible match for their older sibling, and Rick’s test came back as a perfect match. In a totally selfless act, Rick then decided to donate one of his own kidneys to help save his brother’s life.
This would be Ken’s second kidney transplant after his initial transplant back in 1991 from an anonymous donor, Thatorgan was harvested from an elderly donor and his aged kidney suddenly began to deteriorate putting Ken on a dialysis machine.
Late in the 2010 season Rick informed Washington General Manager Mike Rizzo and Nationals Manager Jim Riggelman of his transplant intentions, and was met with a hearty bond of encouragement and support from the Nationals organization.
The initial prognosis has Rick possibly be back teaching hitting techniques within a weeks time baring any complications.
Kidney disease seems to run deep in the Eckstein families genetics as Father Whitey, plus sisters Christine and Susan also have had to endure kidney transplants in the past. All three are currently doing fine, with Christine hoping to be by her older brother Ken’s side as he goes through this second transplant.
So far, Rick and his free agent younger brother David have not shown signs of kidney related problems. But it is an on-going process of testing and regulating their diet to try and keep the effects from providing the same results.
Even before they proceeded with this second operation, both Rick and Kento make a public plea to make sure the public was aware of the importance of being a organ donor. This highly stressful event in the Eckstein family has emerged positive results, but some families do not have the resources or family compatible organ matches to facilitate a positive result. But giving unselfishly just seems to run in the Eckstein family.
Their mother Patricia donated one of her own kidneys to her daughter Susan. And a family friend donated his kidney to Whitey. Christine got her transplanted kidney via the Florida organ donors program. This is a family that has been firmly touched by a health situation in such a way that words can not express the feeling or pain of the overall journey, but the outcome has been positive and provided a lengthening of life for both the family and their community.
I want to commend Rick for his selfless act and one day I hope to shake his hand on an MLB sideline and tell him to his face what a heroci act that he performed for his brother. It is one thing to give of yourself donating your time and effort towards a cause, but to do something of this magnitude for a family member and also help raise awareness is inspiring and will have me check the box for organ donation on my Florida driver’s license when I renew this May.
I want to end with a quote older Eckstein brothert Ken told to MLBlogger Bill Ladson, who writes the blog “All Nats All the Time” before his second operation:
“I would love to have a cure, but I think the first step is getting the word out about organ donations. My sister gave me a statistic that 12 people are added to the National donor list every day-and 18 die each day. There are a million people on that list. So my first thing is, if everyone could give a kidney, we wouldn’t have a list.”
Second photo is obtained from the Orlando Sentinel. for some reason it would not let me pop the credit under the photo today.