‘To my donor and family, I give thanks every morning’; Heart recipient Brian Starr lives life to its fullest

First day home after transplant

For Brian Starr, 18 holes of golf and a 30-mile bike ride was a typical weekend with friends and family. He enjoyed running and took care of himself, ate a healthy diet and paid close attention to his cholesterol and blood pressure.

But his heart failed anyway.

A virus had made its way into Brian’s heart, landing him in the hospital for nearly a month. He regained stability, but it was too late – his heart was damaged. He needed a heart transplant.

Brian lived with congestive heart failure for six and a half years.

Thanks to a healthy lifestyle and supportive family, Brian was able to quickly take measures to extend the life of his heart. He eliminated the occasional latte and weekend BBQ from his diet, gave up running and biking, and his son stepped up to help in the family business.

While Brian awaited a new heart, his granddaughter Aria was born. As she grew older, Brian found it difficult to keep up. Eventually, even a walk to the soccer field to see Aria play was too challenging for his overtaxed heart.

“The last year’s routine was waking up, getting breakfast and rest for an hour,” Brian said. “Then I’d get ready for work, rest for an hour. Go to work for 2-3 hours, come home, eat lunch and nap for 3-4 hours. Then get up for dinner and a couple of hours later, go to bed for the rest of the night.”

Fortunately for Brian, his wish of renewed life was granted. He received a heart transplant and is now living his full life as a devoted partner, dad, grandpa, friend, community volunteer and businessman.

He’s back on the golf course with his wife, chases his granddaughter around the playground, and he and his dog Chet can be seen jogging through the neighborhood. Brian is also biking again for the first time in eight years – something he has relished since childhood. He’s looking forward to a vacation with his extended family to celebrate his health.

“This gift of life, and in my case, a heart, is an incredible donation,” Brian shares. “It means my life goes on when it would have come to an end. It is a gift that is cherished and well taken care of. I continue to honor this gift by making the most of each and every day. Living life to its fullest.”

You can make a difference in the lives of those on the transplant waiting list – register your decision to be an organ donor today! Visit: www.lcnw.org.