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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

College Student Is a 'Star of Life' after Heart Transplant

Heart Recipient
New York

In 2004, 20-year-old Alvin began to feel unusually tired for no apparent reason. He also started to lose weight and everyday tasks like walking to class felt like a chore. Alvin managed to finish his first semester before heading to Albany Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a serious heart muscle disease and was put on drug therapy. Nonetheless, his condition worsened, and in January he returned to the hospital instead of school.

Alvin was placed on the transplant waiting list in February 2005. “After my decision, the only thing to do was to wait,” said Alvin. Fortunately, he didn’t have long to wait. Three months later, Alvin got “the call” from a nurse practitioner: a suitable donor had been found.

“When I awoke from surgery, I knew the operation had been a success,” said Alvin. “I had a long road ahead of me, but I was just so thankful for everyone who was instrumental in getting me to this point. This included the nursing staff, the transplant team, friends and family, and of course, the donor who so graciously decided to donate his/her organs.”

Alvin is currently finishing college and preparing for a career as a graphic designer. He was a rider on the “Stars of Life Float” in the 2009 Rose Parade®. He is also doing his part in encouraging people to register as donors. He expresses, "hopefully, by sharing my story and being a float rider, I can educate people on the importance of donation and how making the decision to donate can save lives."

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