A New Heart and a New Life for Robb
My husband Robb Olds, 35, is very ill. After years of dealing with progressive cardiomyopathy, a heart transplant is the only hope for long-term survival. Robb is one of the most determined and supportive people you will ever meet. He is a loving husband and a wonderful father to our young son. To know Robb is to know someone with unwavering confidence and a healthy sense of humor that he shares equally with everyone he knows. He has brought strength to others his whole life and now needs strength for himself and our family. The cost of a transplant can be overwhelming and your help will make a difference.
February 7, 2019
A year ago this week a man died. At that point I had spent the prior year and a half planning (secretly when I could) how to take care of my family if luck didn’t fall in my favor. At 6’6” and +275lbs I am atypical, but with O- blood I was about the worst combination possible to match for transplant. Not so simply, I needed a male organ donor over 6’4” with O- blood. Around one percent of men are 6’4” or taller, roughly 60% of men are organ donors and about seven percent of people are O- blood type. When accounting for those factors and region for viable transplant, the total number of available donors was somewhere between 25,000 and 50,000. Not the best odds, solid Vegas long-shot territory.
So we waited. We were fortunate enough to spend the majority at home with only a few months of hospital stay total, but it was a long wait. The funny thing is that the longer we waited the easier it got, even though that also meant I was getting sicker by the day. I always plan for the worst (shocker), but I truly never accepted death as an option. Statically it was a high probability, but as analytical as I am, it didn’t register as a real option. As much as I would like to take the credit for my resolve, in truth that will was a physical representation of the love and support from everyone. The best kind of courage is the kind you share with others.
The first week in February, 2018 a man died approximately within 500 miles of Cleveland Ohio. No amount of condolences will ever replace someone’s son, partner, husband, father or friend. He, his family or some combination of the two made a decision that changed the life of eight others in a profound way. The end of his life meant that mine (and seven others) didn’t have to end. It is strange, in equal parts calm and chaotic, to think that the most vital part of another human being is now my most vital part. I don’t even need to exaggerate, sell the story or create a reason to believe. He died and his gifts saved eight of us, his gift saved me. He gave my son a father, my wife a husband, my family a son/brother and my friends a pain in the ass. After 510 days of waiting, on February 7th, 2018 we received new life
To our treasured family, our irreplaceable friends and a company that gives me much more I could ever pay back – I am here because of you. We will spend the rest of our lives in gratitude and always in service to return the love however you may need.
To my donor, your gift of life is most precious of all. To my donor family, I know nothing can replace him – but know any good that comes of my life moving forward is because of him. The best part of him is now the best part of me, I will honor and cherish it.
Carah, I live as a testament to your unwavering love, support and compassion. I am in awe of your strength, because in many ways what you went through was far harder than what I faced. You have always been a wonderful wife, but now I don’t know how to describe you as anything other than: “genuinely, unequivocally amazing.” I love you.
Ford, you won’t understand until you are older, but I recognized how truly brave you were through it all. Your strength fills me with overwhelming confidence that you will persevere and thrive your entire life. Someday I will tell you how your strength saved my life. I love you.
Live life. Love life. Donate Life.
Honored Husband to Carah
Privileged Father to Ford
Grateful and Loyal Friend to You All
Stubborn Human Not Leaving This Planet Soon
January 8, 2018
Family & Friends,
We hope that everyone has had a safe and Happy New Year! The weather has been particularly rough this year and many people all over the country have been hit hard. Our thoughts are with everyone as they dig themselves out in the coming weeks. We continue to be optimistic that Robb’s heart hero will come soon; the doctors have remained consistent that it could be awhile longer due to Robb’s size and rare blood type.
We are still extremely thankful that Robb is able to wait at home and have had a reduction in hospitalizations (driven by very careful diet restrictions and medication management). It is common for those with heart failure to progress and result in hospital stays where they review medication/treatment plans. Cleveland Clinic is a top heart hospital and we couldn’t be happier with the level of care Robb is receiving from his team of doctors!
Life in Avon Lake continues to get even better. The community is amazing and Ford is thriving! The people here are very nice and many now know and understand about our situation. We always have offers to help – and are so grateful! We are making genuine friendships and look forward to spending time with them for many years to come.
Multiple family members came and visited through the holidays. My family came and celebrated Thanksgiving here (it was a very successful “low-sodium” dinner)! Robb’s family came during Christmas-time and for New Years. It was a quiet evening but relaxing and a cause to celebrate one more year as a family.
We want to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone for his or her prayers, thoughts and gifts. The continued outpouring of support is overwhelming and we are so grateful from the bottom of our hearts. As Healthcare continues to see major changes in the short term and on the horizon, we are extremely thankful to have these funds to help ensure that Robb can get the lifelong care he needs. The goal isn’t just transplant, but a long and happy life with family and friends!
PS – if you or someone you know isn’t an organ donor, please reconsider. There are many people out there that could be saved if just a few more of us gave the gift of life. One organ donor can save the lives of up to 8 people. Please check out www.donatelife.net for more information.
February 16, 2019
So happy for you Robb and inspired by your strenght
February 10, 2019
Rob - I had no idea you and your family were going though this. Stay strong and I pray you get through this and live a long, healthy life in the future. God Bless!
February 12, 2018
Congrats on your new Heart Robb! Best wishes and speedy recovery.
Mary & Chuck D'Amico
August 8, 2017
Keep fighting brother, I know you can tackle this...