Life is not for the weak! 

Due to a successful heart transplant, my nephew has a chance to live out another chapter of his life.

Chris, a very young, thirty-two-year-old, outgoing, healthy, adrenaline junkie who lived with a passion for life, suddenly began experiencing many health ailments. His energy was low, it became hard for him to breathe, and he had stomach nausea and debilitating body aches. He thought he had covid or the flu. After several trips to the emergency room and being released, he was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. During his hospital stay, he learned he had congestive heart failure. It was a shock for him and our family. 

We learned Chris’s heart was damaged from treatments for a health issue four years earlier. One treatment saved his life, and now it was threatened again. Our family met with the Cardiologist Team, and a health plan was developed to treat his symptoms with medicine and outpatient therapy. They answered all our questions and told us what we should expect and how we could support him during this time. Unfortunately, after six months of outpatient treatment, Chris’s health declined rapidly. He needed a heart. 

The Long Wait for Relief

Chris was evaluated and qualified to be placed on the heart transplant list. Due to failing kidneys, diabetes, and tremendous stomach issues, he was admitted to ICU to remain until his transplant. The time would allow his transplant team to prep his body with regular medications through his IV. After forty-six days in the hospital, we received the life-altering call that Chris would get a heart. The transplant surgery was a success, and he is resuming his life and looking forward to raising his daughters. 

Heart disease is found in individuals daily and can be treated with medications, proper diet, and lifestyle changes. Throughout this process, I learned that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of all ages and ethnicity. The support from the hospital personnel was incredible throughout the journey. His team became our team, and we all celebrated together when he was able to leave the hospital. I became an organ donor 22 years ago, and due to this experience, nine family members signed up to become organ donors. Donors give years of life to heart recipients and their families. 

by Vera Jones, Development Director

To learn more about cardiovascular health, visit the American Heart Association.

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