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A Miracle First Pitch

Posted April 26, 2018 in News Category

For Brock Savant, just walking to the pitcher’s mound on a baseball field elicits words like “amazing” and “incredible.” On Tuesday, he not only walked to the pitcher’s mound but he threw the first pitch at Itchy Jones Stadium for the Southern Illinois University baseball team’s Green Up Game.

galleryimage-26Liver recipient Brock Savant throws out the first pitch at Itchy Jones Stadium for the Salukis' Green Up Game.

The opportunity was made possible by a heroic, selfless donor who gave the Gift of Life to Brock in 2016 through a liver transplant. “I’m so thankful and grateful that they saved my life,” said Brock, a 41-year-old father. “It came down to the last minute for me, and they came through for me. I’m very thankful and grateful.”

Brock spent four months in the hospital. For more than a year, cirrhosis of the liver left him homebound at his house in Johnson City. After Brock received his liver transplant, he had a long road to recovery. “They didn’t know if I would regain brain function,” he said. “I had to relearn how to walk and talk and write. It’s a miracle that I’ve come this far.”

mt14775-webresJessica Sergeev attended the Southern Illinois University Green Up Game with her son in memory of her husband, Ivan, who was a donor in 2014.

Brock also participated in the moment of silence before the first pitch “That was a wonderful experience out there,” Brock said. “I’ve thought about (my donor) before, but the moment of silence really makes you think.”

The moment had special meaning for Jessica Sergeev, whose husband Ivan was a donor in 2014. The couple attended Southern Illinois University and met shortly after graduating. They made their home in the area. “That was emotional,” Jessica said. “We came to a lot of different athletic events together. So there’s still always that missing of him when we do things (at SIU) as a family. Being able to recognize him today – he was still sort of with us – was pretty powerful.”

Jessica found comfort in the donation community that also attended the game. “Losing someone has many secondary losses,” she said. “Knowing you have a community and knowing those who have received a transplant, it’s reassuring.”

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