Oroville Man Receives Heart Transplant from Firefighter

The firefighter donated his heart, which now beats inside another man's chest.

Posted: Apr. 30, 2018 11:46 AM

Oroville, Calif.-- A California man lives on after his death.

The firefighter donated his heart, which now beats inside another man's chest.

Angela Musallam reports.

Aletha Gomez, the partner of the organ donor said, "It was loud, it was strong, as strong as his love for us actually."

Emotions ran through Aletha Gomez, as she heard the heartbeat of her son's father, for the first time in nearly a year.

Perry Choy's heart, now beating strong inside this Oroville man.

Aletha Gomez, the partner of the organ donor said, "I feel thankful and grateful that he lives on."

Choy, a San Francisco firefighter, unexpectedly passed away last year, after suffering from a stroke.

His last wishes to Gomez she said, "He told me, 'You know when I pass away, when I die, what am I gonna do with it? Might as well donate it and save more lives.'"

Choy's sudden death became the gift of life for many, including 63-year old Jim Donovan.

Jim Donovan the organ recipient said, "I’m proud, really proud."

It's been a rough journey for Donovan, who moved from Bakersfield several years ago, hoping his valley fever would go away.

The condition transformed into "congestive heart failure".

Jim Donovan the organ recipient said, "I actually gave up and I gave u for a long time and I didn't think anything would happen."

Donovan waited almost two years before his doctors found an exact match, for a heart transplant, last august.

That match came from Choy, who had passed just days before Donovan received his new heart.

Aletha Gomez, the partner of the organ donor said, "This is his will, this is what he wants."

Choy's spirit now breathes life in Donovan, and other people who may have never gotten the chance.

Jim Donovan the organ recipient said, "I'm gonna go see my grandchildren and celebrate life again, a second life."

Roughly 12-thousand people died in 2017 waiting on an organ transplant, according to Sierra Donor Services.

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