Celebrating wth my annual heart check up (including a full stress test), this Sunday (Oct 20th) was day 1 of year 20 since that amazing gift of a donor heart back on Oct 19th, 1994.  All test results have come back normal, amazingly good for finding myself still alive on this year’s 70th birthday.

Gil and I in 1996 meet at the donor recognition ceremonies in Fla

Gil and I in 1996 meet at the donor recognition ceremonies in FlaLast week I spoke to my donor’s brother, Gil, both thanking Roberto’s family and sharing with Gil some updates on what that gift has made possible these past 19 years with a focus on this last one as usual.  We talked about his brother, 38 at the time of his death and donation, learning more of his tastes, interests, life etc.

For those who have asked about my personal experiences with “cellular memory” (the passing of traits from donor to recipient), based even more so now on those recent insights, no, I don’t have any of Roberto’s traits as best I can tell.  He enjoyed his beer and a drink not so often – I never drink nor care for the taste of beer, either before or since this transplant – he loved baseball and football – while I enjoy a game every once a year or so, I don’t follow sports at all, can’t even tell you who’s playing in a Super Bowl or World Series until the day of a game, even then, it’s a maybe – and he loved collecting and wearing hats, gaining the nickname “Capone” for his often worn favorite ‘gangster” type hat – I never wear a hat (except a huge sombrero one if out in the sun per my dermatologist’s direction) – so nothing passed along with that heart except a really healthy and strong beating one.   Gil noted on our call that Roberto would have been 57 this year.

My heart donor, Roberto

My heart donor, Roberto

This amazing life is all possible due to so many angels and God’s graces, too many to list here for a thank you again, but maybe this recent Sunday church testimony given on that first day of this new year with a strong heart can say it better.

. . .  and as so many react with “Wow, is that really possible?” when they hear that its been 19 years with a heart transplant, I offer this living example of “Yes, it really is possible!” watch and enjoy: