Harold Brain

Rec Picture
Heart transplant, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario


It is difficult to find the words to describe my feelings when, in my forties, I was informed that the cardiomyopathy problems I was experiencing were irreversible and my focus would be to stabilize my health at the present limited level. This meant very limited physical activity, long-term disability from employment, leaving a career behind which I truly enjoyed, and the accompanying contact with many people. It placed new pressures on my wife and three boys who were in or approaching university age.

It was difficult but with support and perseverance, I was able to maintain a positive attitude. This was shattered with the loss of my wife to cancer, and the effort required to continue to be positive was immense. However, after 15 years of living with very limited energy and discomfort, my health rapidly deteriorated, resulting in repeated loss of consciousness. Then the miracle – I received a heart transplant. I will never forget that first breath upon awakening after the ventilator was removed – a truly beautiful feeling.

Six years have since passed, being able to enjoy life to its fullest. I have married a lady who also lost her spouse to cancer; watched my boys’ careers and families blossom and mature, and am being blessed with a truly rich, fulfilling life.

The experience of a heart transplant is traumatic and complex. It involves a tremendous network of collective knowledge, a caring team of dedicated people, and a society that appreciates the value of meaningful life, to the extent that they are willing to permit the organs of a deceased loved one to be made available so that others may continue to enjoy the rich rewards that life can offer. It is difficult to find words to adequately express my impassioned thanks to all the people who made this possible.

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