Kaleb Kurtz is a survivor who is on his second heart transplant and getting ready for his first Dawg Bowl appearance and Survivor Game. Just after being born, Kaleb was flown to Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. which required a transplant at just 3 months old. After 23 years, Kaleb was diagnosed with Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy and his conditioned worsened and he was diagnosed with worsening artery closures, kidney disease and other accompanying conditions and he was subsequently listed for re-transplant. Thanks to a heroic donor, Kaleb received a new heart earlier this year.
Kaleb’s favorite memory with Dawg Nation so far has been meeting Milan Hejduk, but his journey started by meeting Patrick Donnelly. Kaleb’s brother introduced him to Patrick and Patrick visited Kaleb in the hospital. From there, Kaleb’s journey with Dawg Nation took off. One reason it has been so fitting, is Kaleb’s love for hockey.
“I’ve loved it since I could walk. It’s not just a sport to me but it’s life. I love the goals, the hits and the saves,” Kaleb said!
Kaleb is also inspired by his loved ones all around him.
“My friends and family who supported me all the way through transplant. Jesus Christ for being with me and every step of the way and my beautiful girlfriend Rachael! Without her the last 8 years I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Kaleb said!
Being one of the five heart transplant recipients participating in the survivor game Kaleb is really looking forward to playing in the organ donation themed game as it is a big deal to him because of how he advocates for organ donation.
The 13th annual DAWG Bowl tournament will be held June 21-25, 2023 at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, Colorado. The Survivor Game will be on Saturday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.