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Kidney Recipent Blake Kicks Off GBR17 -- The Homers for Health Game Ball Relay

Posted April 3, 2017 in News Category
img20170402152935-kd0Kidney recipient Blake Bahr carries the Opening Day game ball down Chouteau Avenue for the Homers for Health Game Ball Relay — GBR17.

Blake Bahr was ready. He was ready for fresh air and time with family and friends. He was ready to see his living donor. He was ready for the Homers for Health Game Ball Relay - GBR17.

A two-year-old kidney recipient, Blake hasn’t left his home much since the holidays to avoid cold and flu season. So a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree day was the icing on the cake for Team Blake, who was the honoree for the first leg of the 5th annual Homers for Health Game Ball Relay on Sunday afternoon in advance of Opening Day at Busch Stadium. The relay is a partnership between SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and the St. Louis Cardinals in which patients from the hospital run a relay with the Opening Day game ball from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon to Busch Stadium.

“We are super excited to be involved with something like this with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon because they’ve done so much for our family,” said Heather Bahr, Blake’s mother. “This is such a cool event.”

View photos from the Homers for Health Game Ball Relay

Blake and his team – including his parents, Heather and Nick; his living donor, Laurie; many family members; and Mid-America Transplant representatives – made their way down South Spring Avenue before turning east on Chouteau Avenue. A couple blocks later, Blake handed the ball to Kennedy Burger, a 7-year-old with nephrotic syndrome. She’s expected to need a kidney transplant within two years. “We know her family, so we have that connection,” said Heather Bahr. “To pass off to her family is pretty cool.”

img201704021531281-y6pBlake handed the ball to Kennedy Burger, a 7-year-old with nephrotic syndrome. She’s expected to need a kidney transplant within two years.

Kennedy and three other Cardinal Glennon patients completed the relay through the streets of St. Louis to Ballpark Village. Cancer survivor Joey Renick and his nephew Thomas Lorenz, who is in his brave battle with cancer, made the final leg into Busch Stadium. They circled the warning track with Cardinals legend Bruce Sutter.

The warm weather was a welcome addition to the day for Blake and his family. “Being a transplant recipient, he’s been caged up for months and months during cold and flu season,” said Heather Bahr. “We always said on April 1, we would get him out and about doing things outside. To be able to do this with our family and Laurie, is incredible.”

Laurie is Blake’s living donor. “She’s an amazing lady and a huge Cardinal fan,” Heather Bahr said. “It’s special. We always say this, but we can’t imagine a better person to be part of our son and part of our lives.”

Inspired by Blake and Laurie, the Mid-America Transplant Foundation was a proud sponsor of Team Blake for the Homers for Health Game Ball Relay.

Blake received a lifesaving kidney transplant on January 18, 2016. He was born on November 11, 2014 and diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease.

Blake and his family returned home one week after transplant. “He went from being on dialysis 13-24 hours every day to survive, having a feeding tube for nutrition and being completely lethargic and immobile,” Heather Bahr said. “Now a year post transplant, Blake is a thriving, tube-free, 2-year-old little boy.”

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