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trickskier
09-12-2007, 10:01 AM
Last night I was flying back home and met a truly inspirational person. Below is his story written by Rick Reilly a columnist for Sports Illustrated:

One day five years ago bubbly, gorgeous soccer goalie Korinne Shroyer came home from eighth grade, found her father's revolver in his closet and fired a bullet into her skull.

This is about the lives she saved doing it.

Out of a million kids you'd pick Korinne would be the last to commit suicide. She was a popular kid in her class in Lynchburg, Va. But then she started feeling sad for no reason. Her parents took her to a therapist, who recommended Paxil. But one worry with Paxil is that it can give teenagers suicidal thoughts when they first start taking it. Korinne made it through 10 days.

That bullet tore a hole in her father, Kevin, that you could drive an 18-wheeler through. Korinne was Kevin's best friend, the kid who would Rollerblade with him as he ran for hours, the kid who'd come with him to Orioles games and chat with him until his ears hurt. "I used to run all the time," says Kevin Shroyer, 46. "I loved it because it gave me time to think. But [after the suicide], thinking was the last thing I wanted to do."

Kevin, an investigator in the public defender's office, and his wife, Kristie, a hairstylist, were able to think one clear and brave and terrifying thought during the six days Korinne survived after the shooting. They decided to send out her organs like gifts.

Her green eyes would go in one direction, her glad heart another, her kidneys still another. Her liver and her pancreas went somewhere else, and her two good lungs -- the ones that played the saxophone -- went to a Gainesville, Ga., man named Len Geiger, who was so close to dying that he was practically pricing caskets.

A runner and swimmer and nonsmoker, Geiger suddenly found one day that he only had enough breath for walking or talking, not both. Turns out he had genetic emphysema, also known as Alpha-1, and a lung transplant was his only hope for survival.

He was on his fifth year on the waiting list and "life wasn't worth living," he says, when Korinne pulled the trigger. Geiger received those two young lungs six days later in an operation at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

And that's where this story gets good.

Geiger, now 48, went from 15% lung function to way above average for his age. He got his second wind and his second life. He was so grateful, he wrote Korinne's parents to say thank you. And that letter changed everybody's lives.

Korinne's parents wrote back, and Geiger asked to meet, and next thing you knew Geiger was at a bittersweet gathering that became soaked with every kind of tears.

The Shroyers and their other daughter, Kolby, now 16, gave Geiger a photo album of the girl whose life was now inside him. "She starts out as this beautiful baby," Geiger says. "Then she's a little girl in a Halloween costume. Then a gorgeous teenager. And then the pictures just stop. It was the saddest thing I've ever experienced."

Hours later the group was parting when Kristie said, "Len? Can I ask you a favor?" She walked over and stood before him.

"Anything," Geiger said.

"Can I put my hands on your chest for just a second?"

And she stood there, crying, as she felt her dead daughter breathe.

Kevin started to run again. And someone had a great idea. Why didn't he and Len run together? So they did. They ran an 8K together, step for step, next to each other. One man's overflowing joy coming straight from the other's bottomless sorrow.

That whole run, Kevin never shut up. It was so unlike him that, at the end, Geiger asked him, "Why?"

"I had to," Kevin admitted, "because every time there was silence, I could hear Korinne breathing."

Next they ran a half marathon, then a full one. By then, though, the steroids that Geiger had taken for years just to stay alive had damaged most of his joints, and he was running on two artificial hips. The best he could do was race-walk. At the 17-mile mark his hips were screaming. But he refused to quit.

It took them six hours and 25 minutes -- with Shroyer matching him step by agonizing step -- but they finished, hands clasped together, the three of them.

Kevin and Kristie aren't whole yet, but they're getting on with their lives. Geiger, meanwhile, is relishing his. He met a woman, Christina, married her, and they named their first baby after Korinne -- Ava Corinne. Sometimes he stares at her, awed. "I know that without Korinne, I'm not here today and neither is Ava Corinne."

Sometimes life just takes your breath away, doesn't it?

KnoxX2
09-12-2007, 10:15 AM
Great story!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Trick.

sizzler
09-12-2007, 10:22 AM
wow...........................


welling up inside.......

Maristar210
09-12-2007, 11:04 AM
That may be the very most bittersweet story I have ever read....:(

Kyle's_prostar205
09-12-2007, 11:09 AM
Truly an amazing, heart warming story! Thanks Trick!

Ric
09-12-2007, 11:18 AM
Great story Trick. Which one did you meet, Geiger or Shroyer?

trickskier
09-12-2007, 11:22 AM
That may be the very most bittersweet story I have ever read....:(
Steve, sitting beside him you would have never known........Two lung transplants and two hip replacements and still able to do a marathon is incredible..........He told me he was headed up to Boston this weekend to ride 160 mile in 3 days!!!

He also carries a picture of the girl with him at all times.......

Tourney Team 197
09-12-2007, 11:24 AM
That story gave me the chills! Very good, thank you.

Roonie's
09-12-2007, 11:29 AM
That is a great story!! Thanks for sharing.

chudson
09-12-2007, 11:30 AM
What an inspiration, I'm passing it on to friends and family in my email bunch!!! Thanks

Maristar210
09-12-2007, 11:32 AM
Steve, sitting beside him you would have never known........Two lung transplants and two hip replacements and still able to do a marathon is incredible..........He told me he was headed up to Boston this weekend to ride 160 mile in 3 days!!!

He also carries a picture of the girl with him at all times.......


I can only wonder how you arrived in that conversation? It sounds to me like that is one heavy story to lay on someone you just met?

trickskier
09-12-2007, 11:39 AM
I can only wonder how you arrived in that conversation? It sounds to me like that is one heavy story to lay on someone you just met?
Well by now I guess you know I never meet a stranger.....We started talking about our professions then he pulled out a copy of SI with the article in it and asked me if I would like to read it....I did not have my reading glasses with me so I asked him what the article was about...........:D

Maristar210
09-12-2007, 11:43 AM
Well by now I guess you know I never meet a stranger.....We started talking about our professions then he pulled out a copy of SI with the article in it and asked me if I would like to read it....I did not have my reading glasses with me so I asked him what the article was about...........:D


That makes sense. Chilling story. I am still not sure if I should be happy or sad after reading it.... :o

KnoxX2
09-12-2007, 11:46 AM
Well by now I guess you know I never meet a stranger.....We started talking about our professions then he pulled out a copy of SI with the article in it and asked me if I would like to read it....I did not have my reading glasses with me so I asked him what the article was about...........:D

Sucks getting old don't it!!:D

Hope this helps:D

trickskier
09-12-2007, 11:51 AM
Sucks getting old don't it!!:D

Hope this helps:D
YES IT DOES!!!

roddydog
09-12-2007, 12:22 PM
Makes me appreciate what I have.

Thanks.

TMCNo1
09-12-2007, 12:29 PM
A very heartwarming story to say the least!
I've go to get Lynn to read it too.

Datdude
09-12-2007, 01:37 PM
I read that article in SI and thought it was amazing. Pretty cool that you got to meet him!

peason
09-12-2007, 02:47 PM
A story like that renews your faith in people. Often we read complaints on this board about bad boat drivers, jet ski drivers and toobers. It's great to read about something that really matters. Thanks, Trix.

tex
09-12-2007, 02:47 PM
That is a great story, I have a friend named Tim Francisco who underwent a double lung transplant. I skied with him at Sea World and he is now a doctor. He and his wife are great people. Here is a picture of us at a Sea World reunion last year. Yes, I'm double fisting Big Icehouses'. I had a hard day by the pool!

Ric
09-12-2007, 03:52 PM
Translation' "I don't read the papers, what's the spread on the game tonite?"


Originally Posted by trickskier
Well by now I guess you know I never meet a stranger.....We started talking about our professions then he pulled out a copy of SI with the article in it and asked me if I would like to read it....I did not have my reading glasses with me so I asked him what the article was about...........:D

trickskier
09-12-2007, 07:48 PM
Great story Trick. Which one did you meet, Geiger or Shroyer?
I met Len Geiger

Monte
09-12-2007, 08:04 PM
Great story Trick.. tough one too...

trickskier
09-12-2007, 08:05 PM
Great story Trick.. tough one too...
Listening to him tell it last night was amazing.............I just had to share it with everyone.

Willski
09-12-2007, 10:13 PM
That is a great story, I have a friend named Tim Francisco who underwent a double lung transplant. I skied with him at Sea World and he is now a doctor. He and his wife are great people. Here is a picture of us at a Sea World reunion last year. Yes, I'm double fisting Big Icehouses'. I had a hard day by the pool!

Pretty amazing what some people have been through.

By the way, when did you shave the partial mowhawk?

tex
09-12-2007, 11:06 PM
It's just my shine!

JohnE
09-12-2007, 11:15 PM
He told me he was headed up to Boston this weekend to ride 160 mile in 3 days!!!


Maybe I can offer him a hat for the trip.;) :D

In all seriousness, I read the article in SI and it is VERY moving.