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May 10 Reno Aces game to celebrate local veteran and liver transplant recipient’s second chance at life (sponsored)


Donor Network West to recognize Sparks local, Chris Connolly, who started a support group for locals impacted by organ donation and who works to increase awareness of organ donation

Sparks local and Army veteran, Chris Connolly, has a tattoo of a green ribbon on his right arm. In the middle of the ribbon, he’s saving space for a very special name – the organ donor who saved his life.

In July 2021, Connolly knew something was wrong when his skin appeared yellow. He rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with liver failure and was told he had three months to live. His liver failure was caused by fatty liver disease and Wilson’s disease, which is a rare genetic disorder that can cause severe damage to several organs including the liver. As Connolly was on life support, saying goodbyes to his family, a liver donor match was found for him. He underwent liver transplantation surgery Jan. 19, 2022 at Stanford Health Care and he’s carried on the legacy of his donor ever since. One day, he hopes to meet his donor’s family. 

“I am here because a hero decided to be an organ donor,” Connolly said. “I have a second chance to become the person I always knew I could be and there are no words for that. Every day is a blessing.”

Connolly and his son, Devin Connolly, will run the bases during the second inning at the Reno Aces’ Home Run for Life game, presented by Donor Network West, Friday, May 10, 2024, at Greater Nevada Field as the Reno Aces take on the Tacoma Rainiers. 

As a Donor Network West ambassador, Connolly uses his passion to help others impacted by organ, eye and tissue donation. Together with other ambassadors, he founded the Donor Network West Support Group, which offers an opportunity for people waiting for a life-saving organ, for organ donor families and for transplant recipients to share their experiences and support one another.

Donor Network West, northern Nevada’s only federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organization, is proud to support Home Run for Life baseball games during the Reno Aces’ 2024 season. Now in its third year, the partnership brings critical awareness about organ donation to the northern Nevada community, especially with nearly 700 Nevadans on the national waiting list.

“Donor Network West is fortunate to have passionate ambassadors like Chris who work with us to help increase awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation in northern Nevada,” said Janice Whaley, president and CEO of Donor Network West. “Donor Network West is thrilled to partner with the Reno Aces to celebrate northern Nevada’s transplant recipients and share their stories to inspire others to consider joining the registry as organ donors.”

Six times per season, the Home Run for Life game series honors a northern Nevada community member who has either received a life-saving transplant, lost a loved one who gave the gift of life through organ donation or helped provide support and healing to those impacted by organ, eye and tissue donation. This is the second Home Run for Life game of the 2024 season.

“The Home Run for Life game series provides an incredible stage for highlighting people impacted by organ donation in northern Nevada,” said Chris Phillips, General Manager and COO of the Reno Aces. “It is an honor to work with Donor Network West to help further its mission to save and heal lives in our community.”

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

About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. Established in 1987, Donor Network West is designated and certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), is a member of the Organ Donation Alliance and is an official Donate Life organization. Donor Network West is federally designated to serve 45 counties in northern California and northern Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries to help increase donor registration. For information, visit www.DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.

About the Reno Aces
Since 2009, the Reno Aces, Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has been a fixture in the northern Nevada community providing family-friendly entertainment and Minor League Baseball in downtown Reno at Greater Nevada Field. Over the past 14 years, over 4.5 million fans have passed through the turnstiles, and the Aces have contributed to thousands of different non-profit charities throughout the region. For more information about the team or tickets for the entire 2023 season, visit RenoAces.com or Text TIXX to 21003.

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