LIVONIA – A former Livonia swim captain and now father of three has successfully undergone a heart transplant which started Tuesday night and finished Wednesday morning.
The family, who made headlines on Monday as they announced their fundraising campaign for Kevin Christenson through GoFundMe.com, exclaimed their joy and relief that the operation was successful, and says that he is currently undergoing surgery to receive the new kidney.
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“Got a call from the O.R. ‘The heart is in and beating beautifully!'” posted an update to the page at about 4 a.m. Wednesday. “They are weaning him off of the heart/lung machine and warming him up. The Kidney arrived 1/2 an hour ago and they will update me again in about 3 hours. Thank you for your continued prayers for Kevin and for the donor’s family.”
This is Christenson’s second heart transplant. In September 1999 a virus attacked his heart, making him dependent on a machine to pump his blood.
After waiting for months, Christenson received a life-saving transplant that enabled him to return to college, complete his bachelor’s degree, and begin a career in the engineering field.
However, that heart then began failing as a result of coronary artery disease and end-stage renal failure, both of which stemmed from his transplant medications.
The family has already paid $60,000 in medical bills. As of noon on Wednesday, 226 donors have donated $25,215 toward their $50,000 goal.
The family also posted their thanks to the family of the donor, who had to lose a family member to make the donation possible.
“Kevin and I ask that you would pray for the family who lost their loved one today,” posted the page. “We are so grateful for this life saving gift and simply beside ourselves in a mix of emotions.”