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By Transamerica / Nov 17, 2016

‘She Gave Her Life for Me 25 Years Ago’

ta_blog_1024x438_kutcher Passing 7,000 runners to raise $14,074 for the American Heart Association (AHA) during the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon felt fantastic for Transamerica Assistant Vice President Michael Kutcher.

“I’m a little sore this morning, and I was tired afterwards. But my coach always told me to run happy, so I did,” Kutcher said the day following the November 13 race.

His mood was positively affected because the race provided Kutcher an opportunity to honor his donor: a woman in her mid-20s who donated her heart to Kutcher 25 years ago.

“She gave her life for me 25 years ago. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is one of many ways I’m saying thank you,” Kutcher said.

In fact, his gratitude and appreciation define all aspects of Kutcher’s life. Since receiving his donated heart when he was just 13, Kutcher has worked to raise money for organizations like AHA, inspired others as a motivational speaker, and has tirelessly raised awareness about becoming an organ and tissue donor.

“People often ask me, ‘If you could go back 25 years and have a better heart, would you? Would you change the landscape of your life?’ And you know, I wouldn’t,” he said.

“It’s made me the individual I am today. It’s allowed me to understand the gift of life and to love individuals in my life more and more each day, appreciating everything I do every day. And it’s allowed me to pass all of that onto my son as well,” he continued.

During the Las Vegas race, Kutcher was determined to do his best to honor his donor. He took a steady pace from the start line, sometimes having to walk, but he never gave up.

“You set goals. It’s one stop light after another. Or it’s one palm tree after another. You tell yourself, I’m not giving up, and I’m not giving in until I reach that goal.”

Several Transamerica colleagues turned out – to run with him and cheer him on. “They were there, guiding me and pushing me, and that mattered. When they tell you that you can do this, and ‘Don’t give up, you’re almost there.’ And they’re screaming your name, it pushes you.”

But in the end, Kutcher realized it was just him, crossing the finish line to honor his donor.
“As I was running, I kept thinking to myself about how this individual sacrificed her life for me to live. I can’t think of any better motivation to finish the race.”