Organ donation has this Kelly girl playing ball again

Canadian Baseball Network

by Alexis Brudnicki

*Kelly Thorman-Kleinschmidt will play in the Woman’s Baseball League next May, due to her baseball abilities, her talent, determination … and a liver transplant from her Uncle Ken.

The Thorman family was at one time a baseball family. Kelly Thorman-Kleinschmidt was eight years old when she started playing. Kelly first played on a boys’ house league team, moving then to a girls’ softball team throughout her high school years. However, baseball eventually fell out of favour because of other things that took priority in life.

Not only is the league good for her, but Thorman-Kleinschmidt encompasses all that the WBL president said he was looking for in participants. Though she doesn’t advertise herself as a role model, her journey can be inspirational to anyone. When she began playing ball again last year, Thorman-Kleinschmidt was in end-stage liver failure due to an autoimmune disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. While there were times she was too sick to play, she always showed up to at least support her teammates.

“Trying out for a pro women’s team only five months post-liver transplant was very intimidating, but it was something that was important to me for several reasons,” Kelly said. “One being for personal reasons; I wanted to see if I could make the team. The second being the fact that I love playing the game and would never pass up the opportunity to play at a professional level. The third reason being to promote organ donation awareness. I am a regular person with a regular life. I think it’s important for people to see that organ donation works and that it does save lives.”

Kelly had a liver transplant in March of this year. Her mother’s brother was the live donor, giving 60 per cent of his liver.