Overcoming a Heart-Lung Transplant to Help Others

Mark Black Inspires with His Story of Survival
Feb 19, 2013 8:25 AM ET

From Gifts from the Train Station

Mark Black is an inspiring speaker, talking about the challenges he’s overcome in life, and how others can do the same.  Born with a congenital defect in his heart, he has gone on to run marathons and inspire countless others with his story.  He came by this wisdom by living it - it comes straight from his heart.

Mark was born in Canada with a defect in the aortic valve of his heart, preventing blood from flowing normally throughout his body.  As soon as he was born, he turned blue and was rushed from the room, his parents waiting anxiously as they were told he needed open heart surgery immediately.

Mark had two open heart surgeries before he was one year old.  For the most part he was able to live a normal childhood, checked on periodically by a crew of doctors, but over time his condition slowly worsened and by the time he was 23 years old, his doctors told him that he would die within two years unless he got a heart-lung transplant, a rare and risky procedure.   

After getting on the transplant list, Mark moved 1000 miles across Canada so he could be close to the transplant center when a donor was found.  Months passed with Mark and his father waiting for the beeper to go off, telling them that it was time.  As they waited, his condition worsened until he had to stay in the hospital, in his small room, waiting, passing the time.  Every day he wrote in a journal, collecting his thoughts, and fighting his anxiety. 

Finally the call came. “Mr. Black, I think we have a heart and lungs for you,” the woman on the phone said...

To read more, click here:  Mark Black's Inspiring Story of Survival