San Francisco Giants Celebrate ‘Donate Life Day’

Austin Salinas

The San Francisco Giants held their 21st Annual Organ Donor Awareness Day (now known as Donate Life Day). Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been a key part of this event since its inception in 1998, and I am a proud co-founder of the event. It’s an opportunity for the community to celebrate lives that have been saved through organ donation.

At this event, six transplant patients (five receiving liver transplants and one receiving a heart transplant) were all treated as VIPs receiving tickets for their families, and generous gift bags from the Giants. One of the highlights included patients having their names on the scoreboard at the end of the fourth inning – with a “Giant Welcome” to each patient.

A liver transplant recipient and a double lung recipient served as Balldudette and Balldude respectively.

Austin Salinas, a four-year-old boy under the care of our pediatric nephrologists while he is awaiting a kidney transplant, started the game by announcing “Play Ball!”

The Giants and Donor Network West celebrated 20 years of partnership last year. The first Donate Life Day took place in 1998. Liver transplant recipient Lori Gardner threw out the ceremonial first pitch at that inaugural game. Lori is the late wife of former Giants pitcher and later bullpen coach, Mark Gardner. Mr. Gardner received the Donate Life Champion award in 2013 from Donate Life America for his support and work to promote organ and tissue donation.

Anyone can register as an organ and tissue donor at the DMV or online by visiting or

The Giants Donate Life Day is the longest running organ donor event in all of the professional sports.

Video courtesy of Donor Network West.


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