On Tuesday evening, October 13th, Mary and Brad attended a Piedmont Hospital event that honored Brett and Louise Samsky, an extremely passionate and generous couple who have donated $4,000,000.00 to build the Samsky Advanced Heart Failure Center at Piedmont Hospital. It will service many heart transplant patients. This is the first such center in the United States. What makes it unique is that every possible thing that a patient suffering from heart failure might need will be within 100 steps of the elevator. This is a very BIG thing for these patients. Before this becoming available to them, they had to walk what they referred to as “The Blue Mile.” If you know anything about Piedmont Hospital, you know that it is made up of many buildings, all connected of course, but not in a very convenient manner. The blue mile stretched from one end of one of the buildings to the other end of another building and pretty much covered all the ground in between! This meant that the patient might have labs done at one end and a doctor visit at the other, all in the same day. We were shown an aerial view of it and it was simply amazing. It required a whole lot of walking for people that had a whole lot of trouble doing just that.
This event was a very emotional one for Mary and Brad. A heart transplant recipient told her story and that brought tears to our eyes. Jeff had experienced every part of her story, right up to being taken into surgery. One doctor that we talked to for quite some time, described the actual heart transplant surgery. Talk about an intense conversation. And that same doctor introduced us to another heart transplant recipient. As we listened to these stories, we could not help but shed a few tears just thinking about what Jeff went through and also what he would have gone through if he had gotten a heart. As you can imagine, having a conversation with a person who has received a heart transplant is a bittersweet moment for our family. We are so happy for that person, but we cannot help but think of “what could have been.” It was not an easy event to be a part of, but a very important one to help us move forward from our pain to being able to help other people whose shoes we have walked in.
The final people we met were Brett and Louise Samsky. They are such humble and kind people. In one way we are on the same team. Our contribution is much small than theirs, but equally important. That’s exactly how they made us feel. We have hopes of getting to know them on a much more personal level in the future.