Heart recipient gives donation of hope to athletes in upcoming Transplant Games

DESERET NEWS | Wendy Leonard
Wendy Leonard, Deseret News
Shaun Coon, 42, signs his name on a Donate Life Transplant Games flag at his bike shop, Coonyz Customz, in Sandy on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.
SANDY — Shaun Coon didn't use to like spicy foods, but the man who donated a life-saving heart to him did.

That man, from Las Vegas, also liked custom-building engines and had a young daughter who took a liking to Coon immediately upon meeting him.

"I didn't want anyone to die for me to live," Coon said. But in September 2006, after "wearing out the wheels twice" on the cart carrying his biventricular assist device, he received a new heart and a new lease on life.

The now-42-year-old owner of Coonyz Customz, motorcycle mechanic and custom paint designer was born with a heart murmur that progressed to congestive heart failure. By age 29, he was so sick, he said, doctors wouldn't put him on a transplant list.

He did get a set of implanted pumps and expected that was how he'd live out his days, though, he intended to make them long.

Hundreds of Coon's friends and family members surprised him while he was hospitalized in 2006 when they rode motorcycles past LDS Hospital as a show of support. Continue reading
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