Pleasanton man throws out Giants' 1st pitch for organ donation awareness

Pleasanton Weekly | Jeremy Walsh

Event comes almost five years to the day after his successful kidney transplant

Pleasanton resident Rafael Herrera throws out the ceremonial first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game earlier this month. (Photo by Robert Grant, courtesy of Donor Network West)

Longtime Pleasanton resident Rafael Herrera tossed the opening pitch as the San Francisco Giants celebrated Donate Life Day on July 8 -- almost five years to the day since he received a successful transplant amid his battle with kidney failure.

Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game provided an all-time thrill. Doing so while representing a life-saving cause that restored his own good health made the moment all the more special for Herrera.

"It's an experience of a lifetime. I never in my life expected to do anything like this," Herrera, 59, said of his appearance at AT&T Park representing transplantation support organization Donor Network West. "The idea is to pay a tribute to the people that donate organs and to propagate the word that organ donation saves lives."

A native of Colombia, Herrera first moved to California for a couple years in the 1970s for undergraduate studies at University of the Pacific in Stockton. He and wife Marina relocated permanently in 1982 while he worked to complete a master's degree in operation research from Cal State East Bay. Continue reading