Former 49ers, Jets, Colts, and Baltimore Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland was able to give the gift of life and health to others after he passed away on December 12 previous year.
Carew - the Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and 18-time All-Star, who had always felt healthy - collapsed on the first hole at the Cresta Verde Golf Course in Corona in September 2015. A strong heart now beats inside Carew's chest. "The thousands of people who have said [on social media] that because of Konrad they want to be a donor ... that, to me, is huge".
Joining them on the dais were Carew's wife, Rhonda; Reuland's youngest son, Austin; Carew's cardiologist Ajay V. Srivastava of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla and Tom Mone, chief executive of OneLegacy, the Los Angeles-area chapter of the nationwide organ donor procurement network.
Reuland attended middle school in Southern California with Carew's children, and he met Carew when he was 11.
More details about the Carew-Reuland story were shared by the American Heart Association.
"I got to listen to my son's heart again, so for me, that benefit was vast", says Mary Reuland, mother of organ donor Konrad Reuland. "It was just a wonderful thing to hear a part of my son still here on the Earth".
Konrad Reuland, who played for the Jets and the Ravens, was unsigned and working to ensure that he would carry on his career with a new team the following year. "You know, every day the doctors came in and they would say, 'boy he's roaring today'". "I think this was a plan from the good man upstairs", she said.
"By the time we got to the emergency room, about 15 minutes after Konrad, it was discovered that he had a brain aneurysm, and it was pretty bad", Mary said. The families first met on March 2. "I don't really know if there are really coincidences". "And whatever journey I take, he's going to be right there with me helping me it save other people's lives".
"For me, the benefit was enormous", Mary said.
And although they were connected in an instant, they will forever be apart of each other's lives.
The Carew and Reuland families have become close thanks to Konrad's life-saving gift. "There's even been a mention of a Christmas card".