Two families brought together by heart donor


Thomas Eliezer, left, and Gerry Mead, center, with members of their family at the NJ Sharing Network.(Photo: Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)
POMPTON LAKES – It's been about two years since Thomas Eliezer received a life-saving heart transplant. Since then, the 47-year-old and his family have become very close to his donor's family.

This type of connection is uncommon, said Eliezer, who spoke at a NJ Sharing Network event recently with Gerry Mead, the widower of his heart donor - Barbara Mead.

The event recognized organ and tissue donors, transplant recipients, and members of the community who support the organization. The two told their stories in emotional speeches through tears and laughter. They remarked on their unique, and now strong friendship, and they urged support of organ donation and NJ Sharing Network. Barbara Mead was also recognized on what's known as the Landscape of Life.

Eliezer received a heart transplant after a major heart attack, heart failure and a serious of heart issues in the months that followed. He was in and out of the hospital 17 times, he said. He had an implanted defibrillator that malfunctioned, a valve replacement, and heart pumps that failed. His situation was so dire he remained at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center until a heart became available. Continue reading