Steve Baum took home a bronze medal in the power walk, silver in the triple jump and gold in the 10K in last month’s Senior Olympic Games. / JEANNE REASONOVER / FILE / THE TENNESSEAN
Baum climbed to the top of Mount Evans in Colorado in June. / SUBMITTED
FRANKLIN — Steve Baum credits the Tennessee Senior Olympics for getting his activity level back on track after a double organ transplant in 2009.
Now, he has an opportunity to promote the nonprofit that encourages fitness and healthy lifestyles for those ages 50 and older through his participation in an online voting contest.
At 57, Baum of Franklin is one of 12 senior athletes profiled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s “Choose Your Champ” sweepstakes.
“We’re all happy to do it, although there’s nothing in it for us. It’s mostly to raise awareness for Senior Olympics,” said Baum.
On the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Facebook page, visitors can view video montages introducing each competitor. The senior athlete with the most “likes” wins the contest. Baum isn’t sure what the top prize is but thinks it might have something to do with a calendar.
Living life again
A longtime exercise enthusiast, Baum was very ill with Polycystic Kidney Disease for eight years. Then on Nov. 11, 2009, doctors removed his malfunctioning 30-pound liver and 9-pound kidney and transplanted healthy organs into his body.
“I’m the only man in America who lost almost 40 pounds in one day,” he kids.
Within six weeks, he was back at work. Within nine months, he was playing basketball in the U.S. Transplant Games. He also completed his first half-marathon. For the 2011 Tennessee Senior Olympic Games, Baum secured three bronze medals as a first-time competitor.
In last month’s statewide Senior Olympic Games held throughout Williamson County, Baum took home a bronze medal in the power walk, silver in the triple jump and gold in the 10K. The foot race win was a surprise because “I run like an ostrich with sore feet,” said Baum.
Baum is also a public speaker for various organ transplant and donor groups.
“It seems that everybody that has had a transplant wants to pay it forward and give back. It’s just a sense of mission to make sure other people get as lucky, too,” he said.
To vote for Steve Baum and his video, search for BCBST on Facebook and “like” the page. There’s also a chance to win $500 in the process. Votes can be placed weekly through Aug. 31.
Walk for PKD starts at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 22 at River Park, off Concord Road in Brentwood (across from library). To donate or learn more, go towww.pkdcure.org.