When Ron Hecklinski came to Mishawaka, fans had already heard about his hall of fame credentials. 18 years at Anderson, Indiana All Star Coach. Friends with John Wooden, Coached LeBron James in the McDonald’s All American game. What they soon found out was there was a man on a mission who has been thankful every day he’s alive for the past 21 years.
Friday night the coach becomes a teacher. His message might just save your life one day.
1997 – Heck was in the prime of his career. A routine checkup revealed something very wrong. He needed a liver transplant.
He played the waiting game. But he’s never been one to sit the bench. Not as a player at St. Joe, an assistant at Ball State or the the high schools he led with such ferocity. He got the call. Then things got real. While Heck was lucky, one of his heroes didn’t reach the same fate. Chicago Bears great Walter Payton died November 1st 1999. Only two people of every 100,000 get it. He had the same disease, but he wasn’t as blessed.
The Cavemen Coach now takes his gift of motivation well beyond the court. In the inaugural “Organ Donation Night” February 16th, Coach will step on the floor and deliver his pregame speech to a group of much more than 5 guys. He wants us all to be on the same team.
Victory is measured in many ways. When the game is on the line for you or a loved one, you want to have the best opportunity to win. Hecklinski says, “Don’t take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows we need them here!”