Hello June and a new face in the LifeLink Faces of Transplantation Calendar. Meet the Bernie.
In 2000, Bernie experienced chest pain that he shrugged off as indigestion, but which was later diagnosed as a heart attack due to a major blockage. Ultimately he was referred to a cardiologist and Bernie learned he would require the first of multiple stents to open collapsed vessels around his heart. His health declined and it became apparent that a heart transplant was Bernie’s only chance of survival. He was placed on the national waiting list to receive the gift of life and received his new heart. Although the journey to restored health has been a little bumpy, Bernie is thankful for the renewed life. “You have to have a positive outlook,” said Bernie. Since his transplant, Bernie has been blessed to see his son get married and he welcomed another granddaughter, who brings him so much joy each time they are together. Bernie was fortunate to communicate and meet with his donor’s mom, Tammy, and family. At their first meeting, Tammy used a stethoscope to listen to her son’s heart, now beating in Bernie’s chest. It was a joyous and emotional meeting and Bernie, Tammy, and their families remain close.