FORT LEE, N.J. — February is Coronary heart Well being Month. Coronary heart illness is the primary reason for demise worldwide, however these affected do have a lifeline — the transplant.
One recipient is the main target of this week’s Snapshot New York with Steve Overmyer.
“I’ve by no means been happier. By no means been extra assured. This has taught me to truly love myself,” John Damato stated. “I wanted this.”
Damato discovered MMA preventing, and for the previous 12 months, he is spent six to eight hours a day on the Struggle Lab in Fort Lee, residence for his rebirth.
“I used to be born with a very actually uncommon coronary heart defect known as corrected transposition of the good vessels. The ventricles are switched,” he stated.
For many of his life, it wasn’t a priority, till a check on the age of 14.
“They stated that I used to be in 90% coronary heart failure,” Damato stated.
For 2 years, he waited for a brand new coronary heart. His life aim on the time was easy.
“I simply need to be a child once more. I simply wished to stay a standard life. That is all I wished to do,” he stated.
A coronary heart did change into out there simply as his was operating out of heartbeats.
“Twenty-one youngsters die a day ready. Double that quantity of adults,” Damato stated. “It is unhappy to see how many individuals die ready. I used to be going to be a type of statistics. I had every week left, they stated.”
Dr. Sumeet Mitter is Damato’s heart specialist at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
“Together with him turning into extra bodily lively and wholesome, it is helped his shallowness, his confidence in himself. He can now then hopefully encourage others,” Mitter stated.
Damato not too long ago had his 10-year check-up. All is nicely for a person who a decade in the past opened his eyes to a brand new life.
“I used to be in a position to take a deep breath for the primary time, you already know?” Damato stated. “I began crying, you already know? I am like, ‘That is what it is imagined to really feel like?'”
For each life saved, there’s an organ donor who misplaced theirs. His title was Jonah King, from North Carolina.
When Damato reached out, the Kings welcomed him with open arms.
“The tales I’ve heard of him, how unbelievable of a human being he was, it will be disrespectful for me to not attempt to save and assist as many lives as I can with what I will do,” he stated.
He is at the moment educating youngsters the artwork of jujutsu.
“I can not hold a smile away proper now. Seeing them develop into the individuals that they are turning into is essentially the most rewarding factor I’ve ever finished in my whole life,” Damato stated.
That is saying so much regarding the journey he is been on.
As a coronary heart transplant recipient, he is skilled unimaginable ache. Now, he is dishing it out.
“I had a coronary heart transplant, yeah, however what does that imply, you already know? Why cannot I stay life? Why cannot I’m going after my dream?” Damato stated.
His dream is to change into knowledgeable fighter. One 12 months in the past, he started a vigorous coaching program, as much as eight hours each single day.
After his coronary heart transplant, he gained 100 kilos. He is misplaced almost all of it.
Damato has received 10 of his 12 fights, most not too long ago taking the gold medal in his class at a nationwide occasion in Pennsylvania.
“I ran off the mat and hugged my staff. I imply, that was, it is like I stated, it is like, you battle alone however everybody helps you get to that time. I cried somewhat bit, you already know, ‘reason for all that tough work,” he stated.
A person who’s already defied the percentages is aware of higher than anybody, nothing value incomes is straightforward.
“I am gonna go away every little thing on the market ‘trigger you solely go round one time,” Damato stated. “I wanna haven’t any what-ifs and be like, I did all of that.”
Dwelling a life worthy of the reward he was given.
If you need info on how one can change into an organ donor, go to donatelife.ny.gov/register.