BERGENFIELD, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey baseball coach is grateful for a second shot at life. He got an unexpected gift from one of his players — a liver transplant.
Baseball coach Ed Mooney has spent the last three decades grooming Little Leaguers in Bergenfield to be good, strong men both on and off he field.
“Being around the kids more than just baseball itself has been the norm. They kinda save my life every day,” he told CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown.
Mooney never imagined how true that would be. Four years ago, coach Mooney was diagnosed with cirrhosis. Last summer, he was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant.
Last week, he got he got the phone call, but it was far from what he expected. The organ would be coming not from a stranger, but from one of Mooney’s former players. It was a “bittersweet moment” as the coach describes it.
The transplant came from 24-year-old Danny Glover, a promising young athlete, who had been critically injured in a car accident.
“You don’t expect to get help from somebody that’s only 24 years old, that you watched grow,” Mooney said.
Glover’s parents called Coach Mooney to let him know they wanted him to have their son’s liver and, by law, they can make that choice.
“He gave him so much in Little League and Daniel loved Ed and they just had so much fun together — that in the end he can give him life for having shown him so much, its just amazing to me,” Karyn Glover said.
“How do you say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ at the same time?” asked Mooney.
Doctors warned Mooney that making a medical match would take a miracle. As it turned out, the two were a perfect match.
Dr. James Guarrera performed the 12-hour surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia.
“Obviously the donor was a young, healthy gentleman and his liver was very healthy and perfect,” Guarrera said.
“It’s just so much tragedy, but so much good can come out of it, but it’s still a grieving process,” Karyn Glover said.
Coach Mooney said he’ll spend the rest of his life living — not just for himself — but for Danny Glover as well.
“Him and I got a long road ahead of us. We got some work to do,” Mooney said.
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