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Heart Transplant Recipient Gets Life Back After Receiving Gift of Life

Randolph Rahming has always been an athlete.  His love of track and field dominated much of his life.  Nearly every day, the Bahamas native ran three to five miles to stay healthy.  Randolph, who currently lives in Philadelphia, saw many of his family members suffer from heart disease, and wanted to keep his heart as strong as possible, for as long as possible.

Randolph and his wife LaShonda.

Randolph’s mother died at 61 from heart disease.  His 35-year-old-brother also passed away from the genetic heart mutation.  In total, nearly ten of his close relatives were affected by heart issues, which encouraged him to stay fit and get regular checkups.

He successfully maintained his health until his late 30s, when doctors noticed during a routine checkup that his heart was larger than normal, and that his heart rate was low.  Randolph believed that these symptoms were due to his strenuous workouts, but doctors were more concerned.  Shortly after, Randolph needed to have a defibrillator and pacemaker implanted in his chest.

“My heart wasn’t taking well to the pacemaker. I had one episode where I began to feel lightheaded and went outside of my house.” said Randolph. “I figured if I passed out, my neighbors would help me.  My heart rate went up to 210 BPM at one point, and the defibrillator would shock me and reset it.  I had the pacemaker for about ten years and then I was told I’d need a heart transplant.”

In 2014, Randolph started to realize that something was really wrong.  “My heart just gave up.  The doctor told me that I was in heart failure.  I couldn’t walk and wasn’t able to make it up the stairs.” said Randolph.  He spent 29 days in the hospital and went through an exhaustive amount of testing and paperwork.  Several days later, he got the good news – he would get a second chance at life.  A matching donor heart was available for him.

“My life after my transplant was like night to day. Getting a heart transplant was like walking out of the fog and coming into the sunlight.” Randolph said.  “They don’t give transplants to people who aren’t serious about it.  They knew I was committed to taking care of myself.  I don’t drink, smoke or eat animal products.  I try to be a good recipient.” he said.

Randolph’s gratitude is abundant.  He said, “My donor gave me a new lease on life.  This second chance that I’ve been given is very important to me.  It is such a tragedy for the donor’s family and I can’t imagine what they’ve gone through. My donor has given me my life back and I feel blessed.  It’s a beautiful thing that my donor was able to give me.” Today, Randolph said that he doesn’t have any limitations and takes very few medications. He’s a devoted father and has energy that allows him to live the life he wants to.

In the United States, an average of 20 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. In Gift of Life’s region – the eastern half of PA, southern NJ and DE – there are more than 5,400 people waiting, and nationally over 117,000 men, women and children are on the waitlist. Through increasing awareness and education about donation and transplantation, more lives can be saved.

Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 42,000 organ transplants and an estimated 600,000 tissue transplants. You can help!  For more information about organ and tissue donation or to register today, visit donors1.org.  It only takes 30 seconds to register.

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