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On a day in May, 2012 someone died and left a legacy of life for Colby Salerno.
Such is the gift of an organ donor, the gift of life to another.
Having life change at age 12, giving up sports and re-creating a lifestyle that suits a newly diagnosed disease would be too much for most children, but Colby Salerno took it in stride and excelled. Then learning after 10 stable years that the only thing that would save his life would be a heart transplant, came another life changing ordeal.
What’s it like to receive a heart transplant? What’s it like waiting and wondering if a compatible organ will be found in time to save your life after spending hundreds of days in the hospital? What’s it like to know where the donor heart came from? What’s it like for the donor’s family and loved ones?
We don’t often think much about organ donation, another one of those things that we signed up for, but knowing we won’t be around to know the results and outcome of that donation, we put it away in the back of our minds.
Colby Salerno looks at life as the recipient of a new heart as a precious gift, as we all should, and is a crusader for organ donation.
At the age of 12, Colby was diagnosed with a rare heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. It is found in .02% of the population and causes the heart wall to grow too thick. Colby had to quit playing all competitive sports including soccer, which he had been playing for three competitive teams at the time. Shortly after his diagnosis, a pacemaker was put in his chest and he remained stable for 10 years.
During this time, Colby received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Saint Michael’s College and he plans to pursue medical school in hopes of becoming a cardiologist and helping others that have been plagued with his diagnosis.
In the summer of 2010, Colby began struggling with shortness of breath and fatigue. In August, Colby and his family were informed that he had a rare form of the disease that accelerates its progression. Colby’s heart was turning into scar tissue and he was in heart failure. The only thing that can be done to save him was a heart transplant. Colby was officially put on the heart transplant list on 09/23/10. He received his new heart in May of 2012. He is currently rejection free one year later, but for the rest of his life will need multiple medications and frequent invasive procedures.
Video documentary of the Colby Salerno Story: WFSB 3 Connecticut
Colby’s Blog: http://talesoftriumph.tumblr.com/ Show some Heart for Colby!
The Colby Heart Transplant Fund
P.O. Box 225, CT 06410-0225