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Reno Aces team manager, Blake Lalli, donates kidney to girlfriend and two-time transplant recipient, Aleah Hartung

A perfect match: Reno Aces team manager, Blake Lalli, donates kidney to girlfriend and two-time transplant recipient, Aleah Hartung

Donor Network West to recognize Lalli and Hartung during the Reno Aces game on Friday, June 28 to spread awareness of the life-saving impact of organ donation.


RENO, Nev. (June 28, 2024) — During his MLB career, Reno Aces Team Manager Blake Lalli played for the Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, later going on to play for the Reno Aces before eventually returning as the youngest-ever team manager in franchise history. Even with an impressive baseball career profile, becoming a kidney donor to his girlfriend, Aleah Hartung, tops his list of accomplishments.

“When we found out Aleah needed another transplant, it was a no-brainer to go through the testing” said Lalli. “We heard that it was about a one in 100,000 chance that I would be a match. Even with those numbers, I just had a feeling that I was going to be her match – it was the greatest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

Lalli and Hartung will run the bases during the second inning at the Reno Aces’ Home Run for Life game, presented by Donor Network West, Friday, June 28, 2024, at Greater Nevada Field as the Reno Aces take on the Oklahoma City Baseball Club. 

Hartung is a Reno, Nevada-based cosmetic dermatology and aesthetics physician assistant and founder of Alora Medical Aesthetics. Due to her kidneys never fully developing after infancy, she was first diagnosed in 2008 with kidney failure. Her mother, Sandra Hartung, was her first donor, donating one of her kidneys to save her daughter on Dec. 29, 2008. In 2023, Aleah’s kidney function rapidly declined and she once again found herself in need of another kidney transplant. Both Lalli and Hartung’s father, Vaughn Hartung, were the first to begin the testing process to see if they could donate.

On Jan. 18, 2024, Lalli got the call that he was a perfect match for Hartung. They underwent successful kidney donation and transplantation surgeries on March 5, 2024. 

“You start to worry about all kinds of things when you see someone you care about go through something like this,” Lalli said. “When we got the call, it was pretty awesome. It was a big weight lifted.”

Today, Lalli wears the number 29 on his jersey in honor of the day he met Hartung and the day she received her first kidney transplant from her mom. 

Every 10 minutes in the U.S., someone new joins the national transplant wait list in need of a kidney–on average, those waiting can expect to wait 3-5 years for a kidney donor match. Living kidney donors, like Lalli and Sandra, increase the organ supply and enable more patients to receive life-saving transplants.

As a Donor Network West ambassador, Hartung uses her passion to share her story and serve as an advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation. 

“Organ donation can sound scary,” said Hartung. “But seeing someone like my mom and Blake live very healthy lives after kidney donation might inspire others to do this for someone else”. 

Donor Network West, northern Nevada’s only federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organization, is proud to support Home Run for Life baseball games during the Reno Aces’ 2024 season. Now in its third year, the partnership brings critical awareness about organ donation to the northern Nevada community where the need is great – nearly 700 Nevadans are on the national waiting list.

“Donor Network West is fortunate to work with passionate organ donation advocates like Aleah and Blake who share their stories to inspire others to join the registry to become organ donors or to become living donors,” said Janice Whaley, president and CEO of Donor Network West. “The Reno Aces are outstanding partners and Donor Network West is thankful to work together with them to celebrate northern Nevada’s transplant recipients and their donors.”

Six times per season, the Home Run for Life game series honors a northern Nevada community member who has either received a life-saving transplant, lost a loved one who gave the gift of life through organ donation or helped provide support and healing to those impacted by organ, eye and tissue donation. This is the third Home Run for Life game of the 2024 season.

“Blake’s selfless act of organ donation exemplifies the spirit of generosity and community that we strive to embody at the Reno Aces,” said Chris Phillips, Reno Aces general manager and COO. “Anytime we can use our platform to spread awareness about the critical needs throughout the region, like organ donation with the Home Run for Life program, we want to support initiatives that save and heal lives.”

Anyone 18 years or older and in overall good physical and mental health can be a living donor. To learn more about living kidney donation, go to ​​ To learn more about other types of organ, eye and tissue donation or to join the organ donor registry, visit


— @MyDNWest —

Photo cutline: Reno Aces Team Manager Blake Lalli donated his kidney to his girlfriend, Aleah Hartung. Nearly four months after undergoing successful surgeries, Lalli and Hartung will run the bases, with Aleah’s parents cheering them on (her mom, Sandy, was her first organ donor), during the Reno Aces’ ‘Home Run for Life’ game, presented by Donor Network West, Friday, June 28 at the Greater Nevada Field to raise awareness for organ donation.

About Donor Network West

Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. Established in 1987, Donor Network West is designated and certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), is a member of the Organ Donation Alliance and is an official Donate Life organization. Donor Network West is federally designated to serve 45 counties in northern California and northern Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries to help increase donor registration. For information, visit and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.

About the Reno Aces
Since 2009, the Reno Aces, Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has been a fixture in the northern Nevada community providing family-friendly entertainment and Minor League Baseball in downtown Reno at Greater Nevada Field. Over the past 14 years, over 4.5 million fans have passed through the turnstiles, and the Aces have contributed to thousands of different non-profit charities throughout the region. For more information about the team or tickets for the entire 2023 season, visit or Text TIXX to 21003.



Jena Esposito | KPS3

[email protected] | 702-513-0606



Adam Nichols

[email protected] | 775-334-7070

June 28, 2024