What it’s like to get a new heart for your 18th birthday

Photograph by John-Robert Ward II

I can’t explain it, but something inside me told me not to play football my senior year. I had been playing sports all my life. I was a cornerback for Langston Hughes High for three years. I felt fine. But I came to an agreement with myself not to go out for the team that fall.

A few months later, around Christmas, I started feeling weak. I couldn’t move, and I was vomiting. I went to the hospital, and chest X-rays showed my heart was enlarged because of a congenital defect. They told me I needed a transplant ASAP. Within 10 minutes they transferred me to Children’s Healthcare at Egleston, where I was put on the waiting list for a donor. That was nerve-wracking. All you can do is pray. I was scared for myself, scared for my family. Continue reading
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