Twenty years later, Young’s donor heart is still going strong.
At age 30, Young was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle which reduces the organ’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body.
“When I was first diagnosed, they told me I’d only live another two years (without a donor heart) and they were right on the button,” Young said.
“They told me I’d get 5-10 years out of the new heart and I’m going on 20. I’m good to go for another 20 years. I’m optimistic.”
Young attributes his longevity to paying attention to the little things in taking care of himself and living in moderation.
”I took care of myself, I was careful and watched what I was doing,” he said.
“If a doctor told me to stick to something like diet and exercise, I did it. I was also optimistic. If you sit back in a chair, it’s the worst thing you can do.”
Young said these days he is hampered by muscular dystrophy in his legs, but maintained he doesn’t let it slow him down.
“I’m still active and getting it done,” he laughed.
“I have to be moderate with my exercise so I do what I can. Bed rest is the worst thing with muscular dystrophy so I keep going. I get up at 6 a.m. and go til’ 12 a.m. I go like a farmer.”
Life seems good for Young, who is chipper and talkative. Still, he remembers when things weren’t so good for him before his heart transplant.
“What I went through before the procedure was just awful,” he recalled.