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Gary's Story - Donate Life Ohio

Stories of Hope


Gary's Story


I didn't think I'd live to see 50.

Gary, heart recipient

In his late thirties, Gary was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that commonly causes congestive heart failure. As time passed, Gary’s condition worsened. Eventually he was given a pacemaker and defibrillator, and placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant. In 2002, while being hospitalized for another surgery to install a HeartMate – a device which helps the heart beat – doctors gave Gary the news he had been waiting for. He would be receiving a heart instead of another device.

Since his transplant, Gary works full-time at his own construction business and enjoys volunteering for Life Connection of Ohio. In 2010, Gary celebrated his 50th birthday, a milestone he never thought he would live to see. Thanks to the incredible generosity of a donor, Gary went from barely surviving to living fully. His transplants gave him the opportunity to work, volunteer and celebrate his second chance at life with his family.

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Has your life been touched by organ, eye or tissue donation - either as a donor family, transplant candidate family or as a recipient?

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"It gave me joy that part of him lived on."

Wendy, wife
Todd, organ donor