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Stories of hope

Jonathan: my heart transplant story

Heart to Heart: My Heart Transplant Story

On August 8, 2022, at 2 AM, 16 years after I experienced massive heart failure, I was awakened by my nurse and given the news: I was getting a new heart today.  IT was both overwhelming—and shocking—at the same time. I was getting a heart—today.

My “prior” life was great. I had a beautiful wife, two teenage sons, a nice home in Beverly Hills, and I was living my dream job of producing movies.

In 2007, when I came back from selling my movie at a major film festival, my life changed in an instant. I had heart failure, two massive strokes and aphasia (the inability to speak). I survived, but my heart had become a ticking time bomb.

I lost my movie career because I couldn’t talk or write. And I had to reinvent myself to earn a living to support my family. In the ultimate reality show—life imitating art—my wife, my eldest son and I became reality producers.

Last year my defibrillator fired twice within seconds. I was rushed to the hospital and was told that I would not be discharged until I had a new heart. Four weeks later I underwent a 9-hour heart transplant operation. I thought, at last, the hard part was done. But it was just getting started!

So, with a sense of humor and irony, mixed with a whole lot of optimism, I choose the path to move forward with my life and be positive every day. And sometimes it is hard. The power of your mind can determine your outcome. Life can change in an instant, as mine surely did. It’s what we do next that defines who we are.

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