National Organ Donor Day

THE GLEANER | Beth Smith

Kerry DeHaven of Clay, Ky., received a new heart in December of 2013. The now 48-year-old was working as a paramedic when he had his first heart attack in April of 2013.(Photo: DENNY SIMMONS / THE GLEANER)
To many, Valentine's Day is about hearts and flowers. For Webster County resident Kerry DeHaven, it's mainly about the hearts -- or any organ really.

DeHaven of Clay, is the recipient of a donor heart. That's why the 48-year-old former paramedic, who worked in areas such as Henderson, Webster, Hopkins, McLean, Daviess and Caldwell counties, spends a great deal of time reminding folks that Feb. 14 is not only Valentine's Day, but it is also National Organ Donor Day.

"I started having some heart problems in my early to mid-30s," he said. "I had severe chest pain, shortness of breath. It was slowing me down."

"These issues were somewhat of a surprise," he said. "Initially, we didn't realize there was that much of a history of problems in the DeHaven family. But almost all males in the DeHaven line have passed away at age 70. It was almost eerie. After I started having heart problems, my father, at age 70, dropped dead of a heart attack. No warnings or anything. We now think that it is something that runs in the family that has never been caught."

DeHaven received stints in 2009 due to blockages in his heart and by his own account was doing well until April 16, 2013. Continue reading