UNLV Alumni Profile
Las Vegas Review Journal – Heart Recipient Helping Others
Donate Life Champion Inaugural Award
Keith joins Michael Jordan, Professional Golfer Erik Compton, The Arizona Diamondbacks, and Retired NFL Quarterback Boomer Esiason among others in receiving this prestigious award.
LAS VEGAS – April 13, 2013 – Simon Keith, the first athlete in the world to play a professional sport after receiving a heart transplant, has been awarded the Donate Life Champion award, based on his remarkable longevity, athletic accomplishments and his passionate promotion of organ donation.
As part of the “20 Million in 2012” campaign to register 20 million new people to state organ, eye and tissue donor registries last year, Donate Life America worked with state affiliates to present more than 50 Donate Life Champion awards to well-known athletes, teams and other role models within the sports community who have demonstrated remarkable support for organ, eye and tissue donation. In its inaugural year, the Donate Life Champion awards are being given to select members of the athletic community from across the country that have inspired others to give the gifts of life, sight and mobility.
Keith joins a list of individuals and organizations committed to this cause, including Michael Jordan, pro golfer Erik Compton, Boomer Esiason, San Francisco Giants coach Mark Gardner, as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks.
One of the longest living transplant recipients in the world, Simon released his autobiography – Heart for the Game – and also established The Simon Keith Foundation in 2012. Additional information about his inspirational story can be found at www.thesimonkeithfoundation.com.
After serving on the Nevada Donor Network’s Board of Governors, Simon is now the Chief Operating Officer for the Network. The Nevada Donor Network is the Organ Procurement Organization for most of the state of Nevada.
More than 115,000 Americans are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. By working with sports figures and their loyal fans, Donate Life America hopes to radically increase the number of registered donors.
Fans of sports figures are encouraged to join their state donor registry in their honor, to be known as a FanForLife. Each FanForLife has the potential to save up to 8 lives through organ donation and improve the quality of life for up to 50 people through eye and tissue donation.
To join your state registry visit www.donatelifeamerica.org.
The Simon Keith Foundation is dedicated to providing financial support primarily to youths who have undergone a life-saving organ transplant who desire a return to an active and healthy lifestyle. In addition to helping people with their non-medical expenses, the Foundation strives to increase organ donor registration through public awareness campaigns. For additional information please go to www.thesimonkeithfoundation.com.
Heart for the Game is available on Amazon, I-Tunes and through the Simon Keith Foundation website at www.thesimonkeithfoundation.com.
Quotes from Heart for the Game
“I have spent my professional career playing against some of the greatest athletes in the world. Each train hard, have a burning desire for their sport and have inevitably overcome some kind of adversity. I have never met an athlete who overcame Simon’s circumstances. To say the odds of playing soccer again were overwhelming doesn’t even begin to explain what he did.”
-Steve Nash, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player
Kate McCullough, Nevada Donor Network (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(702) 796-9600 or (702) 884-1229 (cellular)
Michael Mack, Las Vegas Events (email@example.com)
(702) 260-8605 or (702) 349-0023 (cellular)
Over a plate of lettuce wraps, former UNLV soccer player Simon Keith realized, come November, he will have lived with his second heart longer than his first.
When he received a heart transplant at Papworth Hospital in England in 1986, he thought, “If I get 20 years out of this, I’m good.”
“Well guess what? I’m not good,” he says. “I want more than 20 years. I know my 10-year-old son wants me to have more than 20 years, ’cause I’m at year 21.
This was one scouting report the general manager had to check out himself. He walked up to Simon Keith, who was about to become his team’s top draft pick of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), and asked for clarification.
“I understand you’ve got some sort of heart problem, some sort of valve job or something,” said the GM. Keith knew it was time to give yet another skeptic an education. He pointed to his chest, looked the GM square in the eyes and left no doubt about his medical status.
The Cleveland Crunch of the Major Indoor Soccer League has signed its No. 1 draft choice, Simon Keith of the University of Las Vegas, but that’s only half the story. Keith has been living the last three years with a transplanted heart.
Keith received the heart from an English soccer player who had died of a blood clot on his brain while playing. Keith’s own heart was damaged by viral myocarditis, a weakening of the heart muscle.
”He is a unique individual and I’m happy to have us be a part of his story,” said Al Miller, the Crunch president and general manager. ”Simon is the rare combination, outstanding soccer player and outstanding human being.”(AP)
The Cleveland Crunch wanted to draft Simon Keith, but first there were a couple of questions the newest team in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) wanted to ask him. So at a luncheon the day before the college soccer all-star game, in Wichita, Kans., last July 7, Al Miller, the Crunch’s general manager, introduced himself to Keith, a 24-year-old forward from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Then Miller backed into the questions: “The word is that you had some kind of heart problem.”
“Yeah,” Keith said.
“What was it?” asked Miller.
“Uh, now what exactly does that mean, Simon?”
Keith pointed to his chest and said…
Simon Keith dominates Bud Showcase
Three years ago, Simon Keith was dying of heart disease at age 21. Then he got a heart transplant. Now he’s a pro soccer team’s top draft choice.