Sunday, February 05, 2006

Triumph and a truly giving legacy

He walked upstairs after a game at Shea Stadium to be part of a reception for Cystic Fibrosis. When he sat at a table, a little girl came up and asked to sit in his lap. The tall, powerful professional athlete with the gentle voice and kind way said that she could. The little girl informed him that he knew her sister. Ed Hearn met his future wife, Trish, a nurse at North Shore Hospital that night during the endless summer of 1986. Its a love story that has endured through more than any couple ever should. Yet its ultimately about triumph.

Ed told me today on the phone that Trish, "has been my nurse ever since we met."

This means more than you'd imagine as after a vital life of a professional athlete, Hearn fell victim to an illness which led to three kidney transplants. He takes more than 25 pills a day and still undergoes expensive treatments monthly. Throw in a bout with cancer later and it would be understandable why someone would give up.

But Hearn told me today, "I always knew that to play in the big leagues would make me a role model. I expected it of myself."

Hearn along with pitcher, Rick Anderson were traded to Kansas City the spring after the World Series for Davis Cone.

He was with Trish while having dinner with John Gibbons, another catcher when Joe McIlvaine of the Mets called to tell him of the trade. He and Gibbons had caught snook that day and having a cook-out with their significant others.

Hearn said, "I turned over everything to Gibby at that point-apartment, furniture, everything and made my way to Fort Myers where the Royals trained.

Trish went with Ed to Kansas City. It was to be an exciting time as Hearn would be the everyday catcher for the Royals. But a blown rotator cuff ended it all and Hearn sadly finished with less than the four years he'd need to get Major League Player's Union health insurance as a retiree. It would come in handy now for Trish and Ed Hearn.

But none of this is the story of the man Ed Hearn really has become in his post big league life. Ed's become an inspiration for many about overcoming the road blocks that face us all. Go to his web site, He's now a widely sought motivational speaker for youth groups, churches and corporate america. He's been so good, in fact, that he's the only professional athlete from a professional team ever to receive the National Speaker's Association's prestigious Certified Speaking Profession (CSP).

Hearn says, "from the letters and personal testimonials I get tell me this is what I'm supposed to be doing. When powerful, successful people have pulled me aside afterwards and have tearfully told me what my message meant to them, I know I'm where I should be."

He voice conveys the strain of illness, but the clever mind and keen wit are still evident. He brightens when he speaks of his love for his wife and how lucky he is to have her. And when he talks of his eleven year-old son, Cody, it brightens further.

Cody's a black belt in karate and a baseball player in his own right, and Hearn enjoys seeing his son grow. He laughs when he's asked about playing baseball and says, "I hope I don't mess him up."

Go to Ed's web site and say hello. He enjoys hearing from fans. But it will also be a chance for you to be warmed by true success over adversity and a man's ultimate triumph, and a truly giving legacy.

UPDATE: I'm having a terrible time getting my links in according to what BLOGSPOT wants me to do, Chalk it up as operator error. This is Ed Hearn's site.


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