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Earl’s Healthy Heart

Living Proof of the Power of Transplantation

By Emma Riverso

Earl Jones, 57, is celebrating 21 years post-heart transplant this March. 

Jones was born with a genetic heart defect called transposition of the great vessels, that went undetected until he was 12 years-old, but even then, he never thought it would manifest in him needing a heart transplant, he says.

“I had a normal upbringing, everything my friends were able to do, I was able to do: ride bikes, skate, play, sports,” he says, but all that changed in August, 1995, when Jones was just 30 years-old.

Persistent coughing and an emergency room visit revealed to Jones and his family that he was in congestive heart failure, he says.

“When I got my transplant my daughter was 10 and my son was 15. Since my transplant I’ve had the chance to see them grow into adulthood and become parents,” Jones says.

He waited about two months in the hospital, before receiving the gift of a heart transplant from his donor hero, a 22 year-old man, Jones says. He was out of the hospital and back home after four months.

These days, Jones is focused on taking care of himself, spending time with family, and participating in as many Gift of Life volunteer opportunities as he can, he says. 

To celebrate his transplant milestone, Jones and his wife, Kim, will participate in Homecook Heroes at Gift of Life Howie’s House, cooking a meal for the residents.

“I think after all these years, I’ve finally found my life’s mission and my life’s purpose. There’s a reason I’ve been able to stay around for so long. I’m living testimony to the potential of transplantation,” he says.

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