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.