Mark's Story of Hope
Mark A. Barber is a lifelong athlete and fitness enthusiast with a passion for half-marathons, triathlons, and obstacle course racing.
In July 2015 he was diagnosed with pneumonia after finishing a triathlon. Mark was in treatment, recovered slightly and continued racing, but then his health began to decline during the following 2 1/2 months.
In late October 2015, he was diagnosed with ventricular cardiomyopathy, the same disease that caused his father to need a heart transplant 33 years ago.
He spent over 5 weeks in the CCU at Jackson Memorial Hospital, after being admitted with congestive heart failure (10% ejection fraction), kidney and liver failure. This was a very difficult and trying time. Mark was at the brink of death. He was placed on the waiting list for a heart almost immediately as 1A status. During that time, he had a balloon pump assisting his heart, surgery for embolisms in his leg, and severe atrial fibrillation.
Upon being released from the hospital, he had an inotrope pump line installed in his chest and was placed on the list as 1B status. During the 8 months that followed, many other procedures were done, including implantation of a Medtronic ICD, multiple hospital stays and ER visits.
In June 2016, Mark finally got “the call.” This was the moment he’d been waiting for 225 days and the call arrived at 1:07am on the morning of June 3, 2016. A heart was found for him!!! Surgery was scheduled for later that day, so we know that the donor was able to give the gift of life to other patients on the waiting list as well. The donor will forever be Mark’s angel… not just on his shoulder, but beating strongly in his chest.
Surgery was a huge success and the Transplant Team at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami was extremely happy with the results.
Throughout all of this life-altering journey, great doctors, clear short & long-term treatment plans, and a positive daily outlook on life have kept Mark moving forward on his road to recovery. A unique family background and upbringing contributed to his ability to be thankful and grateful on a daily basis, even in the most difficult times.
Mark is THANKFUL for gift of life given to him by a 30-year-old health & fitness enthusiast from Miami.
He is GRATEFUL to have the gift of a second chance at life and consider it an enormous responsibility. That is why, Mark wants to share his experiences as a child of a transplant recipient and as a heart transplant recipient himself to help others get through the tough periods of waiting, pain, uncertainty, change, and rebirth.
Mark wants to raise awareness for the need of organ donors and educate those reluctant to do so by being open, honest, and understanding. This will be achieved by competing in endurance running, cycling, triathlon events, and social media. In addition, Mark plans on following in his father footsteps, by competing in the 2017 US Transplant Games.
A Facebook Group was created to share Mark’s story. Hundreds of people have become organ donors since the group was created. The inspiration, love and support received by the members of this group have been pivotal in Mark’s journey.
If you’d like to join the group and follow Mark’s story: www.facebook.com/groups/MarkStrong
#MarkStrong #FuerzaMark #DonateLife
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