As soon as Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew began recovering from life-threatening heart problems last year, he became driven by one thought: How can I help?
Carew knew his story could inspire more people to take control of their heart health and encourage more donations toward research to beat, treat and prevent cardiovascular disease. His first step was reaching out to the American Heart Association and the next big step came with the launch of the “Heart of 29” campaign.
This yearlong effort to increase awareness about heart disease and raise funds for the American Heart Association stops at Fenway Park on Thursday, July 21, during the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins.
Carew will be at the game, where he will throw out the first pitch and be interviewed on the NESN telecast about his baseball career and experience as a heart patient.
Carew was playing golf on Sept. 20, 2015, when he suffered a massive heart attack, then went into cardiac arrest. A battle with heart failure followed, deteriorating to the point where he needed a new heart – but his body was too sick to handle a transplant. So doctors implanted a battery-operated device called an LVAD or left ventricular assist device. While the 70-year-old Carew could remain on the machine for years, he plans to look into a transplant in a few months.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Carew said. “Hopefully this campaign along with the American Heart Association will really turn out to be something big and help a lot of people. That’s all I care about and that’s all that’s important to me.”
Visit the “Heart of 29” website for more information.
Carew has also been in the news this month after Major League Baseball announced that the American League batting title will be named in his honor. He will be attending the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend.