LEWIS — Brock Marvin playfully guards his brother, Connor, during a basketball warm-up session — that was an impossible scenario two years ago.
Brock received a new heart in December 2010; Connor had a heart transplant on March 1 of this year.
The successful surgeries allowed the brothers to resume activities they love, in particular, soccer.
Brock was able to play goalie for the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School boys’ soccer team last year and now guards the net for Oglethorpe University in Georgia, where he is a business major.
Connor, 17, a junior at ELCS, rejoined the soccer team in September.
“I am so thankful that I am able to do something again” said Connor, who before the surgery was, for all intents and purposes, sedentary.
The brothers’ gratitude goes far beyond that, however.
His heart, Brock said, “is a most gracious gift from a stranger.
“Most of all,” Connor said, “I am thankful for the heart donor’s family, who made a decision to have a loved one donate his organs to help others.
“It must have been difficult to be in such a state of mind of losing a loved one and still think of others.”
Both are going through the process that may allow them to learn who their donors were so they can thank the families personally.
“We are forever grateful to these families that donated,” said their father, Walter “Smitty” Marvin.
“These are people who unselfishly gave life to people they had never met. Most of us will never know the courage it took to donate life at the cost of one of their own.”
Brock and Connor both had familial dilated cardiomyopathy, a congenital condition that results in a greatly enlarged heart with an efficiency rate of less than 50 percent.
Brock was an eighth-grader when he collapsed while tossing a baseball to Connor on the lawn. His heart stopped altogether, and staff at Elizabethtown Community Hospital revived him.