Wiley Embry was a man with a tremendous heart

Indianapolis Star | Shari Rudavsky
Wiley Embry with IU heart-transplant program cardiologist Dr. Jacqueline O'Donnell.(Photo: Jeff Atteberry / Indianapolis Star file photo)

More than two decades ago, when a pair of Indianapolis Star journalists approached Wiley Embry about the prospect of following him through his heart transplant operation, the Southside man had one request: That the two publish the piece and promote organ donation whether or not Embry survived the procedure.

Embry came through the transplant to live an additional 24 years. Only about 50 percent of heart transplant recipients survive after 10 years. During those years, he competed in the international Transplant Olympics, counseled hundreds of cardiac patients about what to expect and even met the family of the young woman who donated her heart to him.

He died in his sleep Sunday night. He was 72.

At Mended Hearts, a peer support group for heart disease patients, Embry told everyone he met the same thing, said Pamela Hudson, the local chapter’s president: “Don’t be so afraid of dying that you forget to live.” Continue reading

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