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So grateful for the gift of new life!

My name is Patrick McEntee and I am a 45-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.

Updates (37)

December 3, 2019

Last week, I celebrated Thanksgiving for the third time since I received the gift of new life from my donor Bob and his family. As Amy and I made the rounds for four Thanksgiving meals at four different places on four different days, I realized how grateful I am to still be here celebrating with my family. I made sure to wish Bob’s family a happy Thanksgiving during the holiday. Days like this remind me that my family’s joy is less joyful for Bob’s family. The chair that is full at my table, is because there is an empty one at his table. I continue to strive to honor his gift

As I look toward the new year, I am aware that the money that has been raised for my campaign has very little left in it. Five years of covering a variety of minor and major medical bills as well as travel related to my transplant, has left it nearly dry. The biggest hit to this was related to the long disputed bill for my helicopter ride from Dayton to Cleveland. Ultimately, we were unable to get our insurance company to pay for any of the bill.

The good news is, I’ve been able to return to work. The bad news is, each new year means starting over on my deductible and out of pocket maximum. Reaching my OOP max, is a forgone conclusion. It’s a matter of when, not if I will reach it each year. The other good news is that my health has been relatively good and my follow up appointments are getting a little more spread out. I now only have to go for my regular checkup every four months.

For Giving Tuesday, HHL is waiving the credit card fee from Dec. 3 at midnight until 3:00 pm on Dec. 4. Any contribution is greatly appreciated.

As always, please continue to pray for Bob’s family as they face another holiday season without him. #ThanksBob

August 12, 2019

Two years ago, this man, Robert, made his final act a loving, caring, selfless and giving one. Because Bob and his family made the decision to donate his organs when he passed away from a brain tumor, I am here two years later, happy and much more healthy than I was before.

I hope that what I have done with this immeasurable gift, honors the one who gave it to me. I hope that what I will do, will continue to honor the gift. It’s been two years, but I still do not take life for granted. After coming so close to death, I don’t think it’s possible to ever do that again the way I may have done when I was younger. The smallest things still amaze me in relation to my health. I can still remember how difficult it was to exert myself, even minimally. I no longer plan my walks to provide opportunities to casually stop and rest. Crossing a large room comes with ease. I don’t have to plot the shortest route with tables or chairs along the way to stop at to catch my breath.

By this time next week, I will have completed my 11th 5k race. Prior to transplant, my times were in the range of an hour and a half to two hours. I consistently finish in under an hour now, even if I’m just walking most of the 5k.

I have gotten over the feeling of forgetting something every time I leave the house. That was a constant for the three years I wore the LVAD and worried I’d forget my extra batteries. I no longer obsess over having my phone fully charged just in case “the call” comes. However, I do still have to remember to bring my medicine with me. I’ll always have to take my anti-rejection meds, but it’s a small price to pay.

Speaking of “the call,” I still can remember the scenario. Friday night, Amy and I splurged and had pizza for dinner (whoops, sorry about that sodium bomb I devoured). How could I have known that would be the last thing I would eat for two days. We got to bed early-ish for a Friday night. Amy’s asleep. I’m awake reading As You Wish by Cary Elwes. I had just finished a chapter and was putting the book down and getting ready to put my CPAP mask on and go to sleep. Suddenly my phone rang. Amy woke up with a gasp. I looked at the caller ID expecting to see a 216 area code. It wasn’t that, but it was a northeast Ohio area code. Amy and I looked at each other knowing what it was. We were right. The voice on the other end of the phone said, “This is the transplant coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic, there’s only one reason I’d be calling you at this time of night. We think we have a heart for you.” I put the phone on speaker so we could both hear. We stayed surprisingly calm. When we had our instructions and hung up the phone, we immediately prayed for Bob and his family. We had prayed for them from the time I was listed and asked all our family and friends to do so whenever they offered to pray for me.

What an amazing ride the last two years have been. Its not that they have been without challenges and obstacles, but I’m so grateful that I was able to endure the wait to be able to reach these obstacles. Without a doubt, all of these combined don’t add up to living with heart failure. We weren’t alone while I was waiting. We’re not alone now. Family and friends still pray for me. I still ask them to pray for Bob and his family.

Not everyone who receives a transplant has the opportunity to communicate back and forth with his or her donor family. I’m grateful that Bob’s sister reached out to me a few months after I wrote. Since then, I have had the opportunity to speak with his mother and other members of his family. It’s such a gift to be able to reach out and share good news about what I am able to do with Bob’s heart. I enjoy hearing stories of Bob’s sons as they are growing up. It hurts my soul that they lost their father at such a young age.

Please continue to pray for them as this joyful time of year for me, is very bittersweet for them.

#ThanksBob

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Guestbook

July 13, 2018

Transplant Alliance Foundation, is proud to supply financial grants to help pay transplant related medical bills.

Transplant Alliance Foundation, Inc

August 9, 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 1, 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