NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A young man is determined to use his second chance at life to help others through the agonizing wait for healthy organs.
Chris Mayer is a college student who just three months ago had a heart transplant. He now visits the hospital to offer support to others like Dan Dolan, who is waiting for his new heart.
“You can’t worry about the negatives,” Mayer said. “It is a waiting game, but your day will come.”
The two met for the first time in an ICU room at Westchester Medical Center.
CBS 2 first met Mayer in October, when he, too, was gravely ill but nevertheless trying to stay positive.
“I’m just hoping that the next day could be the day that my heart comes in,” he told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois at the time.
Mayer said his wait was difficult, but that he was helped by meeting others who had already had the surgery.
“You see how good they look and you’re like ‘Wow, I feel terrible right now. Like I’m not what I used to be.’ And then you see them walk through the door and you don’t even realize it. You’re like ‘Oh wow, you got a heart transplant?’ So it’s encouraging for sure,” Mayer said.
Now, he said it’s his turn to give back.
“It’s like a new engine in a car. It’s unbelievable, you know?” Mayer said.
Dolan said it is helpful to see how well Mayer is doing.
“It can’t be measured. It really gives a person a sense of what can be accomplished,” he said.
Mayer also visited with with Lou Cavalcande, who is now heading home after his heart transplant.
“It was great. It really brought confidence back to you. Made you feel better about yourself, that there is hope,” he said.
Transplant Surgeon Dr. Alan Gass said these kinds of interactions are good medicine.
“Anything that can kind of basically boost them up emotionally, to me, translates into a medical benefit,” he said.
Mayer said he’ll continue to help those waiting for a new organ, while also spreading the word about the importance of organ donation.
“I’m just hoping that I can reach out to more people, encourage those who are waiting for organs and hopefully try and get some to consider becoming a donor because it really is something special for both people,” Mayer said.
The wait in New York for organs can be long, but its rates for organ donation are among the lowest in the country.
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