Heart Transplant Survivor Scores Home Run at Kernels Game

By Mark Geary, Reporter

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By Mark Geary

CEDAR RAPIDS -- Baseball fans love to root for their favorite players at Cedar Rapids Kernels games.

But, at Monday night's game, fans cheered for a person most of them had never met.

Baseball players dream of scoring a home run to win the game at a critical moment.

Monday night, one man achieved that goal. But, he's not a baseball player.

It takes a team of people to get the park ready and the fans revved up before a baseball game.

Brian Kimm needed a much different kind of team to help him through the fight of his life.

His heart was failing, and doctors feared he wouldn't survive unless he got a transplant.

After two years of waiting, the hospital found a match. Now, two and a half years later, Kimm is rounding the bases at the Kernel's game as the guest of honor.

"The donor family that I had. I was thinking about them. Without them, this wouldn't be possible,” Kimm said.

Many of Kimm's 11 children were there at the stadium to cheer on their father.

"He wasn't able to walk across the room. It was just a great feeling to see him walk across the bases," Spencer Kimm said.

Kimm's kids still remember when their dad struggled to survive.

"Going to school every day and knowing your dad's in the hospital and he might not make it through, it was just hard," Skyler Kimm said.

Now, Kimm is back to coaching his kids' baseball team. He still gets tired easily, but he can do just about anything he wants.

"It gives you a new look at life in general. You don't take things for granted like you once did," Brian Kimm said.

Kimm says he'll always be grateful to the team of doctors, family and friends who helped him make it across home plate.

Kimm has become friends with the family of the woman who donated her heart to save his life.

Most of his family members are now organ donors, too.

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