Tattooed Heart: One Transplant Recipient’s Ink Tribute to His Organ Donor

UpVoted | Nick Dyen

"I'm an extremely lucky person."

It started with an earache.

At 12 years old, Florida resident Tim L.—better known on Reddit as user MoTioNz—went to the doctor for a routine checkup. Though the boy complained of ear pain, the doctor examined his heart as well and discovered an unrelated arrhythmia.

He referred Tim to a specialist at a nearby hospital, where the 12-year-old received a startling diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy, a possibly life-threatening disease of the heart muscle.

“Basically my heart was too big and wasn’t pumping blood properly,” Tim explains.

To correct the problem, the cardiologist implanted a pacemaker, but in the nearly two years that followed, Tim’s health declined steadily.

“I was constantly sick,” he remembers. “I had lost nearly half my body weight, and it kept getting worse and worse.”

His doctors informed him that he would need to receive a heart transplant.

“[That] isn’t something every 14 year old wants to hear,” Tim says.

After an improbably short amount of time on the transplant list—just one week—Tim found a donor whose heart wasn’t a match for anyone above him on the list. Continue reading 

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