Heart Transplant Bonds Three Men Together, Now One Must Say Goodbye
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 15, 2014 – After 108 days waiting for a heart, Bobby Regard, 61, is going home with a new one beating in his chest. Reighard was exuberant to have a second chance at life. While his departure from the hospital is a great milestone, it is bittersweet as he leaves behind two dear friends who are still in the hospital waiting for their perfect match.
“We’ve become family”, Reighard said. “Even our wives and children have bonded through this experience and I know no matter what happens, we’ll always be there for each other.”
Danny Herbst, 59, and Jerry Kern, 60, have become close friends with Reighard as they waited for months for a heart at Florida Hospital Orlando. Throughout this uncertain time, the three men walked the halls together, celebrated holidays, and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
“We’re so happy that he finally got his heart,” said Kern. “He needed it and we can only hope that one day we’re just as blessed.”
At the final farewell, the men embraced, chatted for a bit, promised consistent phone calls and visits to check up on one another. They took one last walk down the hallway together, arm in arm and heart to heart. Though many might expect the other men to be jealous of their friend, the opposite was true.
“Being able to find that kind of support amongst others going through the same situation is extremely important for our patients”, said Dr. Nirav Raval, medical director of thoracic transplant at Florida Hospital Transplant Institute. “It is difficult for patients needing a transplant to find their perfect match due to a limited amount of donors. But Bobby kept a positive attitude and I’m very proud of our team for what we were able to do for him and his family.”
There are thousands of men and women just like Reighard, Kern and Herbst, waiting for a heart. The trio hopes their story will inspire others to make a New Year’s Resolution to become an organ donor. It takes three minutes to sign up and resolve to be an organ donor in 2014 by going to www.donatelifeflorida.org. For more information about organ transplantation, visit the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute website at www.fhtransplant.com.
For media inquiries, contact Florida Hospital Media Relations at 407-303-8217.