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High School Senior Returned to Soccer Field After Life-Saving Heart Transplant

“Not a day passes without wondering whose heart beats inside my chest.”

Joe Mansaray

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After Joe Mansaray received the gift of a life-saving heart transplant, he said he began to feel like a teenager again. The high school senior and soccer star had to give up sports and much more as he relied on an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) to keep him alive through months of testing and medical appointments while waiting for a heart to become available.

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Joe was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardio myopathy after his sophomore year of high school. This same disease also affected his mother, who received a heart transplant, but then passed away due to complications. Just three months later, Joe had his transplant.

“I was really scared,” he told Gift of Life staff at our annual Thanks for Giving event.

Joe’s recovery took a lot of time and hard work, but throughout it all he focused on his goal of returning to the soccer field. Just prior to the start of his senior year, he was cleared to play, and he quickly got back his starting position and nickname of “the Blur.” He continues to do well and plans to attend college next fall.

“I’m very grateful,” he said.

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