Heart Transplant Patient Helping Others Waiting For Organs

Chris Mayer Knows Their Fears First Hand And Offers Encouragement

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.

Please leave a comment below…

  • Larry Decoste

    This is a really touching story I had my heart transplant at nyc presbyterian hospital in nyc , I am 33 yrs old with a 20 yr old heart from the bronx, it awesome what chris is doing to spread awareness about getting a donated organ . its never easy i still come across many challenges. The medications after transplant is probably the worst part but to live a second life is amazing

  • Dg

    Very inspiring young man! Continued good health and success in your future.
    Many blessings ahead for you.

  • Kate Kohler

    You can also donate your organs online at donate life.net. Help spread the word, it is an important and selfless thing to do. My brother is Dan Dolan who was in the broadcast about Chris Mayer. He is waiting patiently for a donated heart.

    • cindy

      Hi Kate,

      I’m a double lung recipient and I will be keeping your brother in my thoughts and prayers. Stay positive Dan! And never ever give up!!! Soon you’ll be out there doing things you haven’t been able to.

      God bless,

    • Maria Argueta

      Please let your brother know that he should never lose hope and have faith that his heart is on the way. I am a liver and a heart recipient and understand what he is going through as well as his family. It is very rough on everyone involved. I had my liver transplant in 2008; my heart, on the 4th of July, 2011, only 6 months ago. I am still undergoing cardiac rehab, but I’ve never felt better. There are miracles in life, and I am living proof. I will keep him in my prayers. God bless.

  • Andy Bossov

    I greatly appreciated the story broadcast tonight at 11 about Chris Mayer, the young Westchester man who received a heart transplant and is now offering comfort and encouragement to others awaiting transplants. However, I write because at the end of the story, Maurice Dubois commented that the wait for organs in the NY area is much longer than the national average and Kristine Johnson responded that it shouldn’t be because it’s so easy to donate, “You just check it off on your license.” But five years ago this coming Monday (1/23), I received a LIVE kidney donation and have helped publicize the need for live donations (for kidneys and other partial organ/tissue) as many people don’t realize that this is so helpful and heroic at the same time. My donor, a Methodist minister, did something completely selfless for me, a Reform rabbi, and not a day goes by when I am not thankful that I was able to get off dialysis and return to work and normal life as a result of her bravery. Please help educate people about this important possibility. Live kidney donation could help reduce the wait time for people waiting for transplants while enduring transplant and other medical treatment. Thank you! As a new resident of Westchester Counter, I hope to meet up with Chris Mayer and pick up my efforts to help raise awareness about this issue and to also offer encouragement to those awaiting transplant as I formerly did in Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.

    • Andy Bossov

      Excuse me. I meant to say “…while enduring dialysis and other medical treatment.” Also, Westchester “County” (not Counter).

  • Richard

    So how old is this college student? What happened to the 5 W’s and H in news reportage?

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