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So grateful for the gift of new life!

My name is Patrick McEntee and I am a 43-year-old man who received a life-saving heart transplant on August 13, 2017. I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 1996. Nine years later, a series of heart related illnesses began with two strokes and a heart attack. Ultimately, my heart muscle continued to weaken from congestive heart failure to the point I was sent for a heart transplant evaluation. I was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic at the conclusion of the evaluation so doctors could try adjusting my medications. That was unsuccessful and within a week, I was listed to receive a heart transplant and my condition was so dire that a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) was implanted. This device gave me a much higher quality of life and bought some extra time needed to bridge me to a heart transplant.

Updates (31)

May 23, 2018

I’m sorry to have been so neglectful of updating my page. I can’t believe it has been so many months since i updated. Many of you have followed along on Facebook and many updates have been passed along that way.

Since my last update, I have continued to get stronger. I have remained active. Despite my regular exercise and activity, I am fighting weight gain, which is an unfortunate side-effect of Prednisone. This drug is a steroid which acts as one of the three anti-rejection medications I take to keep my body from rejecting the heart. The good news is that my dosage has been weaned down. I left the hospital taking 20 mg per day of Prednisone. After yesterday’s biopsy, which netted me a 0R (which means no rejection was noted by the test), my dosage of Prednisone was dropped to 5 mg. If all goes according to plan, I will be off it altogether by Thanksgiving.

Other exciting highlights from the last six months include receiving a letter from Kailyn, the sister of my donor Bob. Because of the strict privacy policy they have for both the donor family and the recipient, we still have to use the Organ Procurement Organizations as a go between. I have written back, but haven’t heard again at this point. I am so grateful to have a name to pray for now and to share with those who have been praying with me. #ThanksBob

I have completed two 5k races since my transplant. The last one, I finished in 54:10, which meant I shattered my goal of finishing in under an hour. My next race will be the Redlegs Run followed by several races run by OPOs which I dedicate to Bob.

I have become something of a local celebrity as a result of my transplant. I got to promote organ donation and be honored on the court at a University of Dayton game in January. I also made the news that night, which led to a couple of calls the next day from people I have met at Cleveland Clinic and at Cardiac rehab. In April, I volunteered nearly every day between Life Connection in Dayton and Life Center in Cincinnati. These volunteer events included giving speeches at Flag raising ceremonies at area hospitals for Donate Life month, speaking in high schools and at an event honoring donor families who lost a loved one in the past year. Amy and I also got to be on the radio program “Cincinnati Edition” on WVXU talking about our experiences of organ donation.

August will be a busy month and it will kick off by flying to Salt Lake City for the Donate Life Transplant Games of America. Hopefully I can bring home a medal with me. After I return, I will participate in the Gift of Life Walk/Run in Cleveland. This will take place on a very important day: August 12. That is the first anniversary of “THE CALL.” On Monday, August 13 I will have my one-year checkup. August 13 is the day I consider my transplant day because that’s the day Bob’s heart found its new home in me, so that will be my first birthday!

I promise to try to be better about updating more often.

As always, please pray for Bob’s family as they continue to mourn his loss.

October 17, 2017

Two months ago today I was waking up from what, in all reality, was a 3-year-long dream.

Today, I spent the morning having breakfast with my wife, and amazing caregiver, Amy. We followed that up by strolling through the park, and walking around the lake at Carriage Hill Metro Park. Every time we go for a walk, I am thankful again for my donor and donor family. I am in awe at how good it feels to walk. I don’t have to stop to catch my breath every couple of minutes. The only stops we made were to enjoy the nature around us. Not once did we stop because I was winded.

All I can think of was how I used to have to strategically plot out my route from point A to point B to conserve energy. An economy of steps to get me to a point of rest was what I needed. Now, I just go and marvel at how easy it has become. Every day, I wake up thankful for this gift. Every night I go to sleep thankful for this gift. It is nothing short of a miracle.

I sent a letter to my donor family about a month ago, and hope to hear back soon. Please, as you continue to pray for me, also continue to pray for my donor family. I think of them often and how they are coping with their loss. I wonder how many other’s lives my donor saved that day.

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Guestbook

August 10, 2017

Lifting you up in prayer !

The Broering Family

June 29, 2017

Pat, I continue to include you in my prayers. I will add you to our prayer chain in our parish.

Jane Pierron

April 9, 2016

Have a great walk tomorrow Pat, way to keep working toward your goal. Remember my race motto, slow and steady finishes the race!

peace, Chris and Barry

December 31, 2015

Hi Pat, I've followed your story through your sister Kat. She has been a blessing to our family and our family will pray for your complete healing! Cheers to a heart healthy 2016!

Jen & Ella Shockey