Mike Sampson is shown in his hospital bed after his July 27 heart transplant, with his grandson Brooklyn, 2. / Submitted by Sampson family
The now 56-year-old Visalian weathered well a trip to Washington, D.C., to see his son, Mikey, graduate from college and another trip in December to Disneyland for his grandson’s birthday.
“The doctors were in shock at how well he was doing,” said Sampson’s other child and Mikey’s twin, Michelle McDonald. “He was great, but from there, it was a really quick decline.”
Sampson started making regular trips to Kaweah Delta Medical Center as he grew weaker and weaker, and often swelled up due to poor circulation, McDonald said. Finally, the determination was made that he’d need to go to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for more advanced treatment.