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James Neal

In 2001, I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (heart failure) due to a virus. I had wonderful cardiologists who closely monitored and managed my heart failure with medications for many years.

In 2015 and 2016, I began experiencing episodes of respiratory failure. My heart failure was worsening. The heart medications were no longer enough and in July of 2017, a Left Ventricle Assist Device (LVAD) was implanted inside my chest to help pump blood throughout my body.

In 2018, I was officially placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNSO) patient waiting list for a heart transplant.

I lived with an LVAD until February of 2021, when it developed a “short to shield” phenomenon. The LVAD had a drive-line dysfunction due to damage to drive-line wiring insulation. Because of this, there was a risk of complete power failure with additional wire damage.

While in the hospital, I was informed I would not go home without either a heart transplant or a replacement LVAD. If my LVAD continued to malfunction before a new heart was available, living with a replacement LVAD would be my destiny and I would no longer be eligible for a heart transplant.

After a lengthy stay in the hospital due to the condition of my LVAD and antibody complications, I received the ultimate “gift of life.” I was the recipient of a Heart Transplant on April 10, 2021.

The impact the heart transplant has had on my life and the life of my family is very humbling.

We strive to live life to the fullest enjoying time with friends and family. We will never forget the donor, the donor’s family or the medical team who gave us the opportunity to continue experiencing the beauty of life.

Organ, tissue and eye donation requires a selfless act to save and/or greatly improve the lives of others.

It is difficult knowing that for some organ donations, a life must end. With faith, however, we understand and accept that it was the donor’s desire to save the lives of others. Because of his/her extremely selfless act, the donor lives on in others.

My donor’s heart is a precious gift that our family cherishes.

Thank you to the donor, the donor’s family and the many doctors, nurses and hospital staff for making such a miracle happen.