In reading a memory I posted to a fellow heart transplant recipient’s blog back in 2018, I had the opportunity to capture it for sharing here today:

In rereading her beautiful post, I flashed back to an earlier memory of my own from a local county fair visit. Standing in line, several years post heart transplant, at the fresh donuts stand I heard the unmistakable sound of a helicopter coming close overhead. Looking up I recognized the Penn Star helicopter that often transports organs from the distant donor to the hospital where I received my own heart transplant, Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. It’s always a beautiful sight, high in the skies normally, but this time it was landing at the fair to allow visitors to tour the helicopter up close, firsthand, just a short field distance away from where I was standing. My reaction was very emotional, standing there watching it come in for a landing, tears welling up in my eyes as I recalled waiting for my heart back in 1994, looking out from the hospital room window that overlooks the heliport landing zone on top of that hospital, wondering if this time it might be with a heart for any of us, the three waiting patients, John, Ron and myself. We called ourselves the ‘3 heartbeats’ – Bodies Eagerly Awaiting Transplant Surgery – B-E-A-T-S! What a beautiful sight and heart felt moment to be alive, enjoying the county fair and feeling this way. Note: The 3 heart beats received our three hearts within 3 days of each other – mine on Oct 19th, an anniversary just celebrated with a day trip of love and reflection – and to the best of my knowledge we are all still alive and well now into our 25th year living with prayerful thanks to our donors who made this moment and life today possible.

(October 1994 photo above) During our waiting in the hospital for possible hearts (as was the practice back in the early 1990’s, you waited IN the hospital, LVAD’s became approved just a month or so later), Ron, John and I were treated to an excited excursion (with brave nurse and heart support gear in tow) up to the hospital roof to see the Penn Star helicopter that might one day soon (hopefully) carry our donor’s heart to its new home. It was awesome to breath outside fresh air and see both that helicopter and look out over the Philadelphia skyline off in the distance.