Peter Marx | The Daily Courier
Gammill, 60, was once a talented athlete himself, but after a heart transplant at age 37 - that all changed.
At the time, Gammill owned one of the largest driving schools in Southern California and Arizona.
He had 125 employees in two states and commuted between Phoenix and San Diego, working 60-70 hours a week.
But Gammill soon found himself unable to keep up with his booming business.
Sensing there was something wrong with his heart, Gammill, who previously had heart problems, visited a cardiologist in 1988.
The news he received wasn't good.
The doctor told Gammill he had six months to live and that he would need a heart transplant if he wanted to have a chance to survive.
Gammill had cardiomyopathy, which simply means the heart isn't pumping as much blood as it should.
His heart was failing, only producing at a 29-percent injection rate, while a normal heart functions at 70 percent.
To make the news even worse, Gammill's insurance company wasn't going to pay for the transplant.
He also had B-positive blood, which is one of the rarest blood types, making it a long shot to find a match.
But Gammill caught a break, as he eventually ended up at the San Diego transplant center, where he met with a talented doctor who helped convince Gammill's insurance company to pay for the surgery.
The doctor had Gammill "sign his life away" to him and prescribed him to take more than 80 pills a day, while undergoing numerous tests each week.
Gammill was still trying to maintain his business while undergoing treatment, but decided it was best that he turn his company over to his business partner.
At the same time, Gammill moved his family from San Diego to Prescott, where he could avoid the stress of work.
"(The doctors) were really, really (angry) because I went from sea level to 5,500 feet of elevation, which is unheard of," Gammill said. "I said, 'I can't be here anymore. I'm working and I can't handle the stress of the business. It's killing me.' "
Still waiting for a match three years later in 1991, Gammill's heart was quickly deteriorating, functioning at an 11-percent injection rate.
"(The doctor) said because I was such a good athlete, having to do with my lungs, that's why I was able to stay alive," he said.
Later, Gammill returned to San Diego for six months in 1991, living in a small one-bedroom apartment, hoping a B-positive heart was going to come available.
Gammill returned to Prescott in January of 1992, against his doctors' recommendations, as he wanted to be with his two young sons.
The treatment center wanted him to stay in San Diego because once they found a heart; the transplant would need to be completed in no more than five hours after they received it.
But Gammill returned to Prescott against their wishes and three months later on April 24, he finally received the call he was waiting for and it was just in time.
"On April 23, literally, I ran out of gas," he said. "That's where I was in my body. I was in the last slosh."
More than four years after the doctors gave him only six months to live, Gammill was helicoptered to the San Diego transplant center where he received his new heart.
Gammill had some complications after the transplant and spent some time in intensive care, but went on to make a full recovery.
Still living in Prescott almost 20 years later, Gammill has found a home at Yavapai College.
He started out raising scholarship money for women's basketball players and later became the school's announcer and mascot.
"I look forward to trying to get people enthusiastic about going to an event," he said. "It's a happening. I think the athletes get enthused when the crowd is behind them. If I can be a small part of that, that's good."
Gammill's passion for sports, life and helping people are what motivates him to stay in shape and donate his time to the college.
"It's the love," he said. "It's the athlete in me. I still get to compete doing something."