About a dozen heart transplant recipients from Memorial Regional Hospital partook in a reunion of sorts with their doctors, nurses and staffers in an effort to help others.
The former patients joined the heart transplant team in participating in the fourth Annual Run 4 Life sponsored by the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency. The annual 5K event, held at the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, aims to honor the lives of organ, eyes and tissue donors and to help raise awareness to the importance of organ donation.
The Memorial employee team consisted of nearly every medical staffer who has taken part in 14 adult heart transplants conducted at the hospital since 2014. The walkers included Marina A., who became Memorial’s first adult heart transplant and Christopher M, who is currently awaiting a heart transplant.
Heart transplant surgeon Enrique Gongora, MD, walked shoulder- to- shoulder the entire course with Willie L., who was the hospital’s 13th heart recipient and Donovan.
“It is amazing to see everyone here from Memorial supporting us and others for a good cause,” Willie said. “We’ve all become family with each other.”
Marina, who became the first adult to receive a heart transplant in Broward County in 2014, completed the race with Teresa Bueno, Memorial’s Adult Heart Transplant Manager. Other former heart transplant patients in the event included Michel (Heart #5), Fernando (Heart #6), Donovan (Heart #7) Ken (Heart #8) and Mitchell (Heart #13).