1 Man, 2 Hearts

An update on the life of my close friend, Colby Salerno, 4 months post heart transplant & the dire need for more organ donors.

I'm not sure if you were able to catch it last night on WFSB channel 3, but there was a spotlight documentary on my close friend, Colby Salerno, and his journey from childhood to right after his life-saving heart transplant that occurred at Hartford Hospital on May 29th. It was certainly a day that I will never, ever forget.

If you have been at all following Colby's story on the many news stations that covered it, you know that he waited a record amount of time for his new heart at HH; 166 days. Over 5 months. For much of that time, I spent countless days and evenings in Bliss 10-I, watching re-runs of The Big Bang Theory and Keeping Up With the Kardashians on a 10 inch television, chatting about nothing in particular & just making my best attempt at keeping his mood upbeat. We played cards, did the ESPN cookie challenge and watched YouTube videos. We did anything we could to pass the time and anxiously await the day that he would get a new heart and be able to leave the confines of his room. He could only roam the halls with his portable monitor; he couldn't leave the floor, take a shower, use a regular private bathroom, get fresh air or feel the sun on his skin. Things I know I took for granted, he went without for 5 months and barely complained about it. I still to this day wonder where he mustered his strength and patience from. He's truly an incredible person.

Throughout the duration of his stay at Hartford Hospital, Colby did so many news interviews, which included a short spot on Good Morning America as well as a video for CNN. He started gaining national attention, but in true Colby fashion, he didn't want it to be all about him.  Each time he spoke with someone, he made it clear that all he wanted was for more people to sign up to be an organ donor, as organ donation is at a serious low in our country. As WFSB reported in the documentary, there are over 115,000 people to date in the US waiting for a life-saving organ. This is a staggering number! I know that there are a lot of common misconceptions about what happens when you become an organ donor, so for this, I urge people to do their research. There was so much that I didn't know about it that, lucky for me, Colby explained to me in detail. I'm so grateful he did.

Colby has been out of the hospital since June and has improved each and every day since. All of his heart tissue biopsies have come back as No Rejection, which is wonderful news for him and we can only hope they keep coming back that way. He is now doing cardio activity almost every day and even started golfing again. Colby continues to amaze and inspire all of the people who are blessed enough to know him and know of him. I consider myself one of the luckiest to be able to call him one of my best friends.

You can find the link to the video below. There is also a link to register to become an organ donor here: http://www.donatelifenewengland.org/ It only takes, literally, 2 minutes to sign up. Two minutes that could potentially allow you to save someone else's life.

Watch the video: http://www.wfsb.com/category/211198/advancing-medicine and learn more about organ donation and the impact it can have on so many lives.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Doreen Currie October 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
In July my good friend Jeff DelGaudio donated a thrid of his liver to another friend, Joe who was dying of liver failure. Joe had been lving in Yale for months as his health was declining fast. The surgery was a success and while Joe is still in hospital regaining his strength Jeff is back at work and back to one of his favorite pastimes; running. Next weekend he will run the 5k in Hartford and my husband is running the half marathon, they are doing it to raise awareness and money for organ donation. I was shocked how many people are not registered donors and by the misconceptions. If you are a donor and you are in an accident, medical staff will not "suspend or stop" treatment so they can harvest your organs. I know some paramedics, their first goal is to stabilize you and get you to hospital, not rifle through your wallet to see if you are a donor. This is the same in the ER. And for the people with religious concerns, do you really think God won't let you into heaven if your body is not whole? What about the people that got a limb blown off in war, are they excluded too? I would think a selfelss act of donation would put you at the front of the line! There are people dying needlessly every day because of the lack of organs. When we are dead we are not going to need them anymore, why not leave behind a legacy?


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