Former Philadelphia Phillies minor league player Chace Numata, 27, died days after being injured in a skateboarding accident in Pennsylvania. As an organ donor he was able to give his heart, liver, both kidney and pancreas, to save the lives of those in need.
To honor Numata's legacy as an organ donor, staff from UPMC Hamot hospital in Erie, as well as the Center for Organ Recovery & Education together with the Numata family gave Chace Numata a hero's sendoff with an honor walk.
Numata was originally drafted by the Phillies in 2010 and was a prospect for the Detroit Tigers. He played for their AA affiliate team in Erie.
Chace Numata, catcher for the Erie SeaWolves, would be remembered for his talent on the baseball field, but, according to his family, it was what he was able to do after his passing that epitomizes what kind of giving person he truly was.
"Chace has always been such a caring and giving person who loved to help others and his final wish is to do exactly that," the Numata family said in a written statement. "God blessed him with so many gifts during his lifetime, and now Chace has the ability to continue his legacy by saving lives with the gift of giving his organs to those in need. 'Chace Boy,' we are so proud of you for all that you are, all that you have done and all that you are doing."
During the honor walk, Numata was led down the hospital corridor from his hospital room to the operating room. Pushing his hospital bed were members of his family as well as the Erie SeaWolves President Greg Coleman. In the background played KC & The Sunshine Band's "Give it Up," the catcher's favorite song and the one that rang through the baseball stadium every time he took the field.
"Chace was a great ambassador for the Erie SeaWolves," Coleman said. "He had a contagious smile and a fun-loving spirit that could instantly brighten your day. Chace had a positive impact on so many lives, so it was no surprise that he decided to help others by being an organ donor. While we're saddened by the loss of our teammate and friend, we take great solace in knowing his legacy will live on in others."
CORE President & CEO Susan Stuart said an honor walk openly recognizes a person's decision to donate and enhances the public's understanding of the importance of organ donation.
"Honor walks are an opportunity to pay our respects to a donor, honoring them for their life-saving gifts, while also lending support and compassion to their grieving family in a moment of fathomless loss," Stuart added. "These poignant ceremonies also recognize a hospital's commitment to organ donation. We appreciate the commitment from UPMC Hamot to partner with CORE to provide this kind of healing to Chace's family."
Former Phillies minor league player who died got hero send off called 'honor walk'