Happy Birthday To The Heart

Tuesday, November 27th 2007, 4:50 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa man celebrated a birthday on Tuesday. It was actually just for one part of his body, though. But it's one that gave him a new lease on life. The News On 6’s Steve Berg reports it was a birthday that came from the heart.

It's the regular monthly support group meeting for heart transplant patients at St. Francis Hospital. But, November is important for Dick Thomason.

"This month's is special for me because I'm eight years old,” said Dick Thomason.

Thomason will admit he's older than eight. But, it was eight years ago on Tuesday that he got his heart transplant at St. Francis. And, it really was the start of a new life, since he was basically incapacitated by heart congestion.

"I do all kinds of things. I still fly an airplane with the help of a certified flight instructor,” said Dick Thomason, who received a heart transplant. "I walk and talk."

On Tuesday, he also got to enjoy some birthday cake before taking in a Tulsa Oilers hockey game.

"I'm a longtime hockey fan, and I get to drop the puck,” said Dick Thomason.

They might talk sports at the support group meetings or family or whatever comes to mind. But, frequently the conversation turns to their shared experience.

"How we're thankful for our donor family. Sometimes that gets kind of emotional. I live because of an organ donor,” said Dick Thomason, who received a heart transplant.

Thomason encourages everyone to be a donor. In fact, this recipient is willing to have his heart re-donated when he dies. But considering that one member of the group has been going for 20 years on his transplant, they plan on sticking around while.

About 560 Oklahomans are on the waiting list each year for an organ donation. Of those, 10% will die before they get the organ they need.