by Susan Carlisle
Please bare with this peacock preening with parental pride post.
My family is celebrating an important anniversary on Monday, March 21st. My youngest son, Nick, 26, will celebrate 25 years with a heart transplant. Without the living giving gift of a organ my husband and I would have lost a child. Instead, we have a fun loving, witty young man .
I wanted to share a few pictures and a small part of Nick’s story with you today.
Nick is the youngest of four children and he was born with a bad heart in 1989. Out of the six major heart birth defects, he was born with four. Andy and his wife, Susan had no idea Nick had any type of problem until his birth. Heart issues at birth or congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect and occurs in nearly 1 in 100 births.
A few months before he turned two Nick’s parents were told he needed a heart transplant. Nick was listed on the United Network for Organ Sharing list. He waited for six weeks for a heart. He received his new heart on March 21, 1991, just a couple of weeks before his second birthday. Nick was one of the first 581 patients under the age of eighteen transplanted at the time and there are seventy-five alive today. Nick was on the cutting edge of medicine and still is today.
He does and continues to take antirejection medicine each morning and each night of every day, without fail. When Nick was eighteen part of his heart became infected. He had surgery again and was given little chance to survive. He did, but two months later he needed a pacemaker.
Despite all that Nick has been through, he water skis, snow skis, wrestled in middle school, played tennis through high school, has seen forty-nine of the fifty states, spent a summer in Europe visiting thirteen countries, and has been to Canada. He finished college with a business degree, owns a home, is married and is employed as a manager at Wal-Mart. None of this would have been possible without the gift of a heart. Organ donation saves lives.