The HERO That Saved My Life


12/15/1979 – 5/9/2007

For almost 11 years, I’ve been living with someone else’s heart beating in my chest …. keeping me alive. A loaned heart … a borrowed heart … a transplanted heart.

Every single day of the past (almost) 11 years I have thought of my donor and prayed for him or her and my donor family.

After my heart transplant, the family rumors were that my donor was in his late teens, from the Nashville, TN area and died in a motorcycle accident. (Wrong on all counts, except TN)
My story has been public knowledge for years through volunteering, this blog, social media and the transplant forums that I belonged to. It was 11 years in the making, and now my story is connected to the story of a young man from Virginia that passed away on May 9th, 2007 in a Johnson City, TN hospital ………. and I now have have undeniable proof …… beyond any doubt, that this man is my DONOR and his family is my DONOR FAMILY.
I no longer have to use the term “anonymous” …….. my donor, like all donors, has a name, a face and most importantly a family and a story. I try to honor him and his family daily with each heartbeat, with each breath I take.
I am feeling blessed and am emotional beyond words. I thought this post would be so easy to write, but quite the contrary …… as my tears run down my cheeks.
My life has been powered by my HERO for almost 11 years. And my hero’s name is Benny Keith. He was 27 years young and passed away from a brain bleed. He lived in southern Virginia. He was a tall man, had 2 young sons and was all about family and friends. He’d give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it. If you needed him, he’d be there for you. He could repair anything, was a cabinet maker and excelled in baseball and basketball, and loved dirt bikes.
He was a registered organ donor, but his family had to make the extremely difficult decision to turn off the machines that were keeping him alive.
For some reason, God chose me to be the caretaker of Benny Keith’s amazing heart …. to touch others lives in a positive manner …….. and for that, I am GRATEFUL to God for this amazing blessing. And I thank Benny Keith’s family, from the depths of my soul, for sharing him with me and my family. May God watch over this family and protect them always!
A life powered by Benny Keith has given me the ability to walk (literally) thousands of miles. To watch my grandchildren grow and spend extra precious time with my family. To travel near and far and to have thousands of moments (good and bad) and memories that will last me a lifetime. Extra time to laugh, to cry, and to volunteer as a way of giving back for the blessings I received.
All of this because Benny Keith said YES to organ donation.
I know that some day I will meet Benny Keith ……. and then I will properly thank him. I will continue to pray for Benny Keith and his family every day. May he rest in peace and may God watch over and bless his family always ……. we will ALWAYS be connected.
Introducing my HERO – Benny Keith
Benny Keith Ward2

About DAP

I am a heart transplant recipient and these are my stories and thoughts. My desire is to assist others pre or post heart transplant in anyway possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question.
This entry was posted in Daily Insight, General, Heart Transplant and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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