Ryder on exercise bike.

Following placement of my artificial heart device, I regained strength while in the hospital.

Following high school, I decided to join the United States Navy. During my routine           physical, it was discovered that the muscle of my heart was abnormally thick. In medical terms, I was diagnosed with a condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. I soon underwent a procedure to reduce the thickness of my heart termed a myectomy. About four years following this procedure, my aortic and mitral valves failed, requiring immediate valve replacement surgery.

From that point in time, the ejection fraction (ability of my heart to squeeze) of my heart continued to decline. Eventually, my heart function became so poor, I was placed on a heart transplant list.

In December 2012, in order to avoid becoming too sick to receive a heart transplant, I underwent placement of an artificial heart.

On February 24, 2013, I received a second chance at life, and received a heart transplant. Although I suffered serious complications post-operatively, with the help of an amazing medical staff, as well as the love and support of family and friends, I survived. I have assimilated back to “normal” life. My donor has given me the opportunity to see and spend time with my son, now one year old. I cherish my friends and family, and cannot put into words how grateful I am for the sacrifice that my donor made in order to give me life. Please consider being an organ donor!

– Justin Ryder

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