June 10, 2008
On February 17, 2005, Kurt Oblinger received the devastating news. He had just been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and within a week, the 20-year old University of Dayton student was told he would need a heart transplant.
Oblinger wasn't put on the transplant list until early April because of the risk that came with too many open heart surgeries too close together. He was transferred to Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky where he underwent surgery to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LAVD) put into his chest until he was able to find and receive a new heart for the transplant. The LVAD wire is a mechanical device placed into Oblinger's chest to help the heart pump blood.
After being on the transplant list for approximately one month, Oblinger received a telephone call while at home in Cincinnati that they had found him a heart.
"I was just baffled when I got the call," he said. "I spent the two-hour car ride to Louisville calling my friends and family telling them the good news; it was really amazing."
In May 2005, Oblinger underwent surgery and received a new, healthy heart.
Oblinger graduated from UD in December 2007 with a major in Business Leadership and a minor in Communications Management. He is now living and working in Cincinnati.
"There are a ton of people out there with a second chance at life," Oblinger said. "They call it the gift of life and it really is. It's a gift so special that is cherished so much and people make the most of it. I haven't met one person who has abused it."
The University of Dayton Division of Athletics announced it will team up once again with Donate Life Ohio to help save lives by registering new organ and tissue donors in Montgomery County. The department is participating in a statewide college program called Do It Now Ohio, to promote and register organ and tissue donors.
Life Connection of Ohio signed 60 individuals up at three different UD men's basketball games during the 2007-08 season to be an organ and tissue donor.
There are more than 3,000 people who are waiting to receive an organ donation every day in Ohio. This translates to one Ohioan dying every other day waiting for an organ transplant. Less than 50 percent of Ohioans have registered to become an organ and tissue donor.
Oblinger is one of the thousands of people who have been given a second chance at life through organ and tissue donation. A single donor has the ability to save eight lives through organ donation and has the ability to enrich the lives of more than 50 people.
To become a registered organ and tissue donor, or for more information, please visit www.doitnowohio.org/ud. For those who are not a legal resident of Ohio but would like more information about registration, visit www.donatelife.net.
Donate Life Ohio consists of multiple agencies and organizations focusing on organ, tissue and eye donation. These agencies include non-profit and state organizations for more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit www.donatelifeohio.org.
Life Connection of Ohio is a non-profit organization created by the federal government as the Organ Procurement Organization for West Central and Northwest Ohio. There website address is www.lifeconnectionofohio.org.
Do It Now is a statewide college program to promote and register new organ and tissue donors. For more information on the Do It Now college program, contact Laura Waltz of R/P Agency in Holland, Ohio at (419) 241-2221.