Jordan received a heart transplant as a child. He has been living life to the fullest – with a goal to be the first transplant recipient to visit every country in the world.
I was born with a rare, congenital heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries. This problem was attempted to be corrected, with no luck when I was six months old, and again at 1 and 2. Transposition of the great arteries is when your two main arteries of the heart, Aorta, and Pulmonary and aren’t in their respective places. Essentially causing a portion of unoxygenated blood to enter the heart.
I spent years in the hospital, being denied food, and water, for obvious reasons. After attempting over ten surgeries, and multiple other ideas, a heart transplant seemed to be the only solution. At three years of age, I had also contacted a rare lung disorder known as Plastic Bronchitis. This disease was a killer of children; my parents and doctors became terriﬁed once they realized what I had.
I Was Out of Time and Needed a New Heart
I needed constant bronchoscopies, which are necessary to be done in under ﬁve minutes and required me to cough enough for it to get logged in my trachea, then put to sleep so that it could be sucked out through a tube. As things got worse, the ENT doctors, gave up on me – stating that I had no hope of making it, so their eﬀorts were pointless. Luckily, I had parents and a doctor, Doctor Peter Coqs, who believed otherwise. My doctor stood by my side day and night, with the sole purpose of keeping me alive. I was out of time and needed a new heart. Some of my doctor’s teams wanted to transplant my heart and lungs, but my primary doctor and parents said no. I wouldn’t make this. After 12 surgeries in total, just as things started to get grim, there was a shimmer of light. My nurse had met a family in the ER whose child, had just passed away with a heart that was viable. After speaking with a grieving family, begging them, and ﬁnally showing a photo of me to the family, they agreed to donate their child’s heart to me. It was a body to body transplant, which doesn’t happen very often.
The Only Known Survivor
Immediately after my transplant, my doctor brought me a BIG Mac, and I was the happiest I had ever been. The transplant had also cured the rare lung disease. At the time, June 13, 1996. I was the only known survivor of that type of Plastic Bronchitis.
Fast forward to when I was ten, I had ﬁve years of being healthy and happy after transplant, making few friends, and living it up. However, that was about to change. During the beginning of my grade ﬁve year, I had contracted Lymphoma – cancer, in my appendix.
I am very in tuned with my body, so I caught it fast, and had my appendix removed. I was still told I needed to take Ganciclovir – a form of chemo – to ensure it was destroyed. It was at this time, my doctors, and parents reminded me of my impending doom. I was ﬁve years post-transplant, with an average of ten years being the standard for heart recipient’s life after transplant. I was nearing that very fast.
Living Life to the Fullest
I’m 21 years’ post-transplant now. I love to create videos, photos and create something for others to get lost in! I climb mountains, travel the world, do public speaking for the transplant society. I was asked to run the Olympic torch in 2010 in Vancouver, and have been told I have zero problems with a long life ahead of me. I’m still realistic, though. I aim for a lifespan of forty years old. I believe this is a good, realistic life for me to live. At twenty ﬁve years old, I’ve done more in my life than most people will in eighty years of their life. My goals are pretty set in stone now, I plan on traveling to all 196 countries, ﬁlming every step of the way, showing what organ donation can do, why you should sign up to be a donor, and why life after transplant is amazing. Once I reach the western countries, I plan on doing videos with patients and doctors of the transplant wards, putting more faces to the cause.
I’m a creator at heart, and no matter what, I plan on creating amazing pieces to help inspire other recipients to get out and live their life to the fullest.