Jabbar Fant, heart recipient

It’s a blessing to be here. To be alive. To be able to share my story. It’s simply a blessing because in September of 2016, I received my second chance at life through the gift of a heart transplant.

Looking back, my road to transplant came out of nowhere. I was relatively healthy until I wasn’t. It came on fast and furious and my life will never be the same.

In the spring of 2016, I fell ill. For a period of about three months, I tried everything and I could not kick the cold. Soon, I started to swell and was having difficulty breathing. My doctor kept treating me, but I just could not get better. On July 3, 2016, I had finally had enough. I went to the hospital thinking they would give me some strong medication to help me kick the cold, but I instead bounced from hospital to hospital. None of the doctors could make a definitive diagnosis.

Finally, at the end of August, I was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic. After just two days in their care I was told I would need a heart transplant. I had no idea what was going on! All I knew in that moment was I had to keep my focus and be there for my family. I was scared, yet relieved, to have a diagnosis. I leaned into my religion – I knew the Lord would get me through.

Just two weeks after learning I would need a life-saving heart transplant, my wait was over – doctors had found a match for me! On September 1, 2016 I began my new chapter.

I remember immediately feeling a change upon waking up from surgery – it was like night and day. I had energy, was able to sleep and could think more clearly. Wow. I just couldn’t believe how great I felt.

Since my transplant, I’ve been able to LIVE! I completed a 5K walk for the American Heart Association, was able to see my nephew’s high school graduation, I’ve gone back to work, and recently, I wrote to my donor family. I just wanted to say thank you for the most unimaginable gift I received. Their loved one has given me life – I now live for my donor and myself.

Please consider registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor. You NEVER know who you will save!