Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Celebrating five years of freedom

On July 4, 2011, Rick Allen celebrated freedom. However, it was not the typical kind of freedom that Americans celebrate on Independence Day. Rick celebrated five years of freedom from 36 stints, 3 pacemakers, 20 pills a day, and an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) which helped his heart pump but had to be plugged in to charge each night while he slept. He was able to celebrate five years of freedom from heart disease because of a heart transplant.

I'll admit that reading Rick's story was emotional for me because it sounded eerily familiar. Before his transplant in 2006, Rick's kidneys were failing and he got winded just walking across a room. Rick said, "I was on my last hurrah." I've been there and done that. It's no fun. However, at a July 4th party in 2006, Rick received a call that a heart had become available for him. Now, he is able to golf, play football and basketball with his son, and has seen four new grandchildren born. He is able to enjoy it all because an 18-year old known as R.J. chose to become an organ donor.

I often refer to organ donors as heroes, and R.J.'s no different. As I read about his gift that saved Rick, I thought about the old saying which says "only the good die young." That is often true, and in this case when a good man died young, something good took place - another man's life was saved.

Source : article titled Bay City Heart Transplant Recipient Celebrates Five Successful Years, Prepares to Thank Donor's Family 
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