Team Gary9 Members
Why We Walk
2022 Wall Street Run & Heart Walk
On May 19, 2022, his 66th birthday, we will be walking for Gary: a son, brother, uncle, friend, husband, and Dad.
In 1998, Gary began experiencing unexplained back pain, ultimately discovered to be the result of a weakened valve in his heart. He underwent the first of several open heart surgeries at 42 years old.
Nearly ten years later, Gary went back under the knife to repair another weakened valve, and returned to practicing dentistry yet again within weeks of his surgery.
Nevertheless, his experience with shortness of breath and generalized weakness continued years later, and persisted through the end of 2018, forcing Gary to retire from his dentistry practice and take more drastic steps to address his ongoing heart issues.
On January 29, 2019, after two aborted heart transplants, including due to a previously-undisclosed tear in Gary’s aortic value, his doctors at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York had no choice but to implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a heart pump powered by 10 pounds of batteries, in order to save Gary’s life. Gary endured several months of rigorous rehab, but true to form, was back swinging the golf club by May.
During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gary built a podcast from the ground up, entitled The Heart Guy Presents: The Heart of the Matter. Through his podcast, Gary has aspired to teach listeners about all issues centered on Congestive Heart Failure and heart disease, major organ and organ transplantation and organ donation advocacy, from a doctor's and caregiver's point of view to the patient's point of view. Gary's goal has always been to give back to the global healthcare community.
Gary has interviewed some of the world's most accomplished clinicians, including Dr. David Joyce, a cardiothoracic surgeon and the Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program at The Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Joyce ultimately performed Gary's heart transplant.
On November 9, 2021, after nearly three years of living on batteries, Gary received the call for what he had been told is the “gold standard” of heart-based procedures. Gary underwent a heart transplant at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a procedure that his surgeons, including Dr. Joyce, described as one of their most complicated operations out of the thousands they have performed over many decades.
After nine follow-up emergency surgeries to address post-transplant complications, Gary is back on the road to recovery. As of February 2022, he has been transferred to a rehabilitation center to continue building his strength to return to New York and to the life he’s dreamed he would live with the gift of a new heart.
As we await his return home, we will be walking with the American Heart Association to honor Gary’s 25-year battle against heart disease, a battle Gary continues to win with your unending support.