A Colorado man recently traveled to Texas to thank the family of a heart transplant donor who saved his life, reports NBC DFW.
Tony Young, 48, was born with a genetic heart disease that caused him to have his first heart attack at the age of 25, finding himself in heart and kidney failure by the age of 45.
Young wrote a blog post for the Denver Post in October 2020, calling the transplant a “true miracle amidst these dark days.”
“Thanks to my donor, I’m finding joy in now being able to do simple things that most people take for granted,” Young wrote.
“I’m cooking, grocery shopping, and driving my car again,” he continued. “I’m even working on learning a new language for a concert festival I’m planning on going to next year that I never thought I would be able to go to.”
The life-altering heart transplant came about after Young was put on a heart transplant list in February 2020. A week later, he was added to the kidney transplant list.
Later that same month, a 34-year-old woman, who would eventually become the donor for Young, arrived in critical condition at the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Irving. The woman died, but her organs were a perfect match for Young.
Young visited the mother of the organ donor in Longview, bringing along with him a special, one-of-a-kind gift for her — a build-a-bear teddy bear with a recording of his heart built into the stuffed animal.
“To see her have that little bear, something that she can hold, it was a really truly special and touching moment,” Young said to NBC.
Young also met the doctors and medical team responsible for preserving the transplant organs.
President of Baylor Scott & White – Irving, Cindy Schamp, told NBC that this was the first time in his many years of being involved with organ donations that a recipient has been able to come back to the hospital that was the source of the donated organs.