April 20, 2024

Healt Hid

Because health is very important to us

When this Cardinals fan worked for Mid-America Transplant he didn’t realize his tissue and organs would end up helping others

9 min read

By Sally Tippett Rains

Friday, April 7, 2023, will stick in Tara Myers’ memory forever because that’s the day her brother Matthew Price died at the young age of 47.

“That call. That ugly, awful, heart wrenching call,” said Myers of the phone call that changed their family’s lives forever. “It’s a cross that anyone who has lost a loved one has to bear.”

As they prepare to face the dreaded one-year anniversary, they will be participating in “Donate Life Day at the Ballpark” on April 21. They will be trying to bring some hope to others, a year and two weeks after Matthew’s death.

It’s fitting that they will all be at Busch Stadium to honor  Matthew Price and spread the word about organ donation—because he was a huge Cardinals fan, was a tissue / organ donor, and he worked at Mid-America Transplant.  He loved going to the games, starting as a young boy with his mother, Cherril Price and sister Tara.

“Some of my best memories are going to Busch Stadium with my mom and brother when we were very young,” she said “We always sat in the nosebleed seats but Matt and I brought our gloves, so we’d be ready, in case by some chance, a Cardinals player hit it to the moon!

The photo, left was one of those times when Price, as a young Cardinals fan was with his sister (who asked us to crop her out of the photo).

“When we were young we both played ball – Matt played from five years old through high school,” she said. “He was a pitcher.”

Matt was intelligent and received both a bachelor’s in Nursing and a bachelor’s in Environmental Geology.

“I’m Matthew’s only sibling – he’s two years older than me,” said Tara Myers. “Our family was close – all the things you would expect from a sibling relationship. The fun and the fighting come hand in hand, but we had a lot of fun.”

Even as she loves to savor the great Cardinals memories, and other memories she shared with her brother –as March gets closer to turning into April, she can’t help remembering that night.

“My brother Matthew went to the hospital in the early morning hours of April 6 with chest pain. After multiple tests, it was confirmed he had a life threating situation – an aortic dissection – that needed immediate repair.”

He was rushed to Saint Louis University Hospital where he underwent an almost 10-hour surgery to repair his heart. His family had left the ICU that evening hopeful because he had made it through the worst.

“We were able to spend time with Matt, and he was alert, looking at me and Mom and his kiddos, Laryssa Roeper; Collin, Ian,  Emma, and Mirren Price; knowing we were there. He didn’t survive the evening.”

His partner, Jen Thomas was also there. Though he did not survive, he was able to donate bone, tissue, skin, veins, and corneas. These organ donations would be given to burn victims, those in serious debilitating accidents, and there are actually two people out there who can see because of the gift of Matt’s eyes.

Those eyes were strong and accurate, serving him well when he was a pitcher for the St. Charles High School baseball team. and they had watched the action on the baseball field at Busch Stadium from the 300 or 400 sections.

Those eyes had looked lovingly at his five children, ages nine-23, appreciated the beauty found in traveling, hiking, fishing, and collecting rocks.  He and his children shared a special bond and appreciation for the outdoors and nature.

His partner, Jen Thomas wrote on social media, “We had so many plans together from simple hikes with the kids to climbing volcanos and seeing the northern lights in Iceland together.”

He was a project manager for Mobile Medical.  He also enjoyed playing the guitar. Matt truly lived life to the fullest and his last and final act of donating his organs has helped others to continue living their life. He loved his family, shown in photo right with him.

“I’m so proud to say my brother worked for Mid-America Transplant for many years,” she said. “He knew the importance of saving lives through organ donation, and he lived and breathed it. He gave the gift of hope. Matthew – I am so proud to call him my brother, and so grateful he educated us on the importance of donor giving. He lives on through many and will never, ever be forgotten.”

For information on Mid-America Transplant, CLICK HERE

After his death, Price’s daughter Laryssa Roeper started a fundraiser to raise money for organ donation. That fundraiser is over but to donate in memory of Matt Price CLICK HERE.

“He was a huge advocate for organ donation and we want to honor his memory in a way that he would have been proud of,” she said. “My dad was cherished and loved by so many friends and family and we were all so lucky to have him in our lives”

His family plans to be at the special organ donation recognition day at the Cardinals game. Another person who has been involved in the special day at Busch Stadium is Jim Tietjens, who has had two heart transplants which saved his life.

“I have participated in Organ Donor Awareness at Busch Stadium for many years,” he said. “Last year I was able to participate with my daughter Annie. (Photo, left)  It was a special day for us both and we were able to get some great pictures while walking around the field.”

Both Tietjens and the Price family urge others to buy the special promotional tickets for “Donate Life Day at the Ballpark.” (Scroll down on how to get the tickets)

Donate Life Day  at the Cardinals game is in partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, and former Cardinal and 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein. The April 21 game will honor donor heroes, celebrate transplant recipients, and encourage people to become “Fans for Life” by registering to be a donor.

With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket for the Donate Life Day game on Sunday, April 21, fans will receive a free Cardinals cap supporting organ and tissue donation. Reserve your ticket today (use code 24MATA).

 “The hat is very cool and features the Cardinal logo, donate life logo and the Mid-America Transaplant logo,” said Tietjens, who plans to attend again.

While organ donation seems so natural and positive, one must remember that while one family is helped, there is a family who is devastated. Their loss is significant and while it does help them to know their loved-ones’ organs can help someone else, it does not take away the pain they feel with their own loss. Tietjens knows this as his life was saved by a transplant but he honors the family of his organ donor.

“There is so much pain and suffering that goes along with the loss of a loved one and this pain is something that does not go away,” he said. “Based on how far the art and science of transplantation has evolved, I believe there have been medical advances that allow us to use more organs than what we might have used in earlier years

“So in a sense, we have possibly increased the organs available for transplant giving many more of those waiting their miracle and second chance at life.”

Donate Life America is committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives, while continuing to develop a culture where donation is embraced as a fundamental human responsibility.

  • Mid-American Transplant’s mission is to save lives through excellence in organ and tissue donation. As an organ and tissue recovery organization, their work happens at the intersection of death and life.

They  help donor families through moments of grief and loss, support transplant patients, and facilitate safe, reliable donations for transplant. Their approach is designed to save lives while supporting families, patients, and our community.

For more information on Mid-America Transplant, CLICK HERE. 

Matt Price’s sister Tara said it best: “Matt was always a giver, and this was the ultimate gift,”

——

Cardinals fans can show their support for awareness of organ donation at  Donate Life Day at the ballpark on April 21

Join the Cardinals for Donate Life Day on Sunday, April 21st, presented by Mid-America Transplant. With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive an exclusive Cardinals cap supporting organ and tissue donation! A portion of each ticket will also be donated back to support Mid-America Transplant Foundation.

For more on Donate Life Day at the ballpark on April 21 CLICK HERE. 

Please note: The Donate Life caps (shown in the photo) are available ONLY with the purchase of a special Theme Ticket. All Theme Ticket purchases will come with a game ticket that indicates the item and/or size of Theme item included. Theme Tickets no longer feature a separate voucher. The ticket should be redeemed at the pre-game distribution for the Theme item. Only fans that present their Theme Ticket at the distribution will be eligible to receive the item. Exchanges will not be available at distribution. You may pick up your item at the Budweiser Terrace Theme Tickets kiosk, across from Section 431, from 11:15am to 2:00pm.

To make a donation to the Donate Life Foundation, CLICK HERE.

——-

To read the article on Jim Tietjens, we did  recently, about how his two heart transplants  saved his life, CLICK HERE.

“I have been involved for almost 33 years making many appearances attending events,  speaking to many diverse groups all promoting the need for organ donation,” said Tietjens. “I have also had the privilege to meet and share my story with many donor families.

It’s important to hear the stories of both the organ donors and recipients. We are very appreciative of Tara Myers for her help with this article during such an emotional time. Because organ donors made the decision to donate their organs, others  like Tietjens are able to go on living their lives.

“This summer I am making plans to attend the Transplant Olympics in Birmingham, Al.   I hope to sell my book “SAVES” at the event and am considering competing if my body agrees.”

—=

From Mid-American Transplant:

Published February 15, 2024 in Press Release

We are excited to once again host Donate Life Day in partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, and former Cardinal and 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein. The April 21 game will honor donor heroes, celebrate transplant recipients, and encourage people to become “Fans for Life” by registering to be a donor.

With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket for the Donate Life Day game on Sunday, April 21, fans will receive a free Cardinals cap supporting organ and tissue donation. Reserve your ticket today (use code 24MATA).

A portion of each ticket will be donated back to Mid-America Transplant’s Family House. Proceeds from last year’s Donate Life game totaled $4,220, enough to cover 281 nights at Family House for patients and their families as they undergo transplant care.

On game day, you can get involved by:

  • Participating in the Honor Walk around the field in memory of a donor hero in your life (fill out this form if you’d like to join the Honor Walk).
  • Visiting the Mid-America Transplant booth to pick up a special Fans for Life baseball card featuring St. Louis Cardinals 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein.
  • Registering or showing your donor registration to get an enamel St. Louis Cardinals Fans for Life pin.
  • Making it a “double play” by registering at the booth with a buddy to receive an exclusively designed Fans for Life t-shirt, which includes the St. Louis Cardinals logo.

Mid-America Transplant and the Cardinals will continue to promote organ and tissue donation throughout the 2024 season.

Stop by the Mid-America Transplant booth at Busch Stadium during several other home games (including three games* where donor families or recipients will throw out the first pitch):

  • Saturday, May 18 vs. Reds
  • Friday, June 7 vs. Rockies (Pride Night)
  • Sunday, June 23 vs. Giants (Black Heritage Day)*
  • Saturday, July 13 vs. Cubs*
  • Wednesday, August 21 vs. Brewers (Friends Night)
  • Friday, September 6 vs. Mariners  (Blues Night)*

Photo credits: Tara Myers, Jim Tietjens.

  • stlsportspage



    For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com.
    Rob Rains, Editor.

  • Sally Tippett Rains



    Sally Tippett Rains started at KMOX Radio Sports (writing/producing for Bob Costas, Jack Buck, Bill Wilkerson) in the late 1970′s, early ’80′s then switched to book writing and charity work while raising their children. Currently she is content manager for STLSportsPage.com and author of 11 books.


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