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Local high school student and liver recipient will be recognized during Reno Aces’ first ‘Home Run for Life’ game of the season (sponsored)


The Reno Aces and Donor Network West team up for 2023’s ‘Home Run for Life’ game series to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation, starting Friday, April 14.

Innovations High School student, Lavender McKillip, began experiencing health issues at age seven. For most of her life, her growth was severely stunted and she often felt fatigued. After undergoing lengthy medical testing, she eventually received an autoimmune hepatitis diagnosis, which affects the liver. 

It’s thanks to a life-saving liver transplant McKillip received in May 2021 that the 17-year-old has the opportunity to pursue her passion for books and her hopes of becoming a librarian after graduation. 

McKillip will be honored at the Reno Aces’ Home Run for Life game, presented by Donor Network West, Friday, April 14, at Greater Nevada Field as the Reno Aces take on the Sacramento River Cats.

“It’s a night-and-day difference since I got my transplant,” McKillip said. “I have never felt this good in my life. I am so grateful to my donor and encourage everyone to register to become an organ donor.”

One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and heal up to 75 lives through tissue donation. 

Donor Network West, northern Nevada and northern California’s only federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organization, is proud to support six Home Run for Life baseball games during the 2023 Aces’ season. In its second year, the partnership brings critical awareness about organ donation to the northern Nevada community and its sports fans. This is the first Home Run for Life game of the 2023 season.

“Reducing the wait for life-saving transplants for people like Lavender is what fuels Donor Network West’s mission to heal and save more lives,” Janice Whaley, president and CEO of Donor Network West, said. “Our partnership with the Reno Aces provides incredible opportunities to share stories of hope and educate our community about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation in northern Nevada.”

Once a month, the Home Run for Life game series features an individual in the northern Nevada community who will be honored by taking a ceremonial trip around the bases as each team lines the baselines. Individuals to be recognized have received life-saving transplants or have lost a loved one who saved lives through organ donation. 

“The Reno Aces are excited to partner with Donor Network West for a second season to help raise awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation in our community,” Chris Phillips, general manager and chief operating officer for the Reno Aces said. “We look forward to cheering on the Home Run for Life participants throughout the 2023 season alongside our fans and players.”

Anyone can register to be an organ donor. To learn more and to register as an organ donor, visit DonorNetworkWest.org.

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