Springfield Cardinals fans will be encouraged to become organ donors at Friday night's game
The Donate Life Game is part of Fans for Life, a collaboration between the Cardinals and Mid-America Transplant.
The Springfield Cardinals are partnering with Mid-America Transplant to host a special event, the Donate Life Game, Friday night, April 21.
Those who attend the Cardinals home game at Hammons Field will be encouraged to become “Fans for Life” by registering to be a donor.
Mid-America Transplant president/CEO Kevin Kline said more than 1600 people are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in Missouri. More than 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for a liver, heart, lungs, pancreas or kidneys.
"Across this great nation each and every day, unfortunately, 17people lose that battle waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant," said Lee.
He encourages everyone to consider signing up to be an organ donor when they get or renew a driver’s license or join the national registry at fansforlife.org while a collaborative campaign with the Cardinals franchise is underway.
Josh Belcher of Springfield helped hundreds of people when he died at age 22 in March of 2022. He had signed up to be an organ donor.
At Friday night’s game, Belcher’s sister Jenna will throw out the first pitch while the rest of his family looks on.
Jen Dishman, Josh’s mom, said he was the only son in a family of girls.
"He grew up dancing, and doing competitive dance is what he really, really loved," said Dishman. "He loved performing, and he was always into music, so later on he got to where he he made music with his best friend...and they spent hours and hours making music, and that was his passion. That was his love."
On March 22, 2022 – the day Josh died – his mom got a call from Mid-America Transplant. They told Dishman her son had signed up three times to be an organ donor – when he got and renewed his driver’s license.
He’d talked with his mom about it once, which made it easier for her to move forward with the donation process.
Various bones, an eye and veins when to 1500 different people, according to Dishman.
"When I think about the bones and his legs that they were able to use, I think — he was a wonderful dancer, and I thought, 'ok. These people are able to dance now if they didn't before,'" said Dishman.
She said being able to participate in the Springfield Cardinals Donate Life game will allow her not only to honor her son and make sure people remember him but also to encourage others to become organ donors.