LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — April is National Donate Life Month and one man shares his story as he hunts for a new heart.
52-year-old John Franklin appeared in good health until he went on a family vacation in September 2021.
"We went on vacation and I had a heart attack," said Franklin.
Within days the married father of three found himself knee-deep in heart failure.
"The only thing they could think is to put these machines in which are called BiVads that basically pump my heart and keep me alive," said Franklin.
Now he is working with the Donate Life Organization to find a new heart and kidney.
"We work to focus a lot on growing the Kentucky organ donor industry so that people like John can have a second chance at life," said the organization's philanthropy coordinator Adrienne Poole.
According to their website, there are 106,000 Americans currently waiting on transplants, with 1,000 from Kentucky.
With a new person being added every ten minutes, Poole said the organization is constantly faced with finding new donors to keep up with demand.
A challenge made even harder since the pandemic forced them to take their recruitment virtual.
"Being forced to pivot really allowed us to target a specific group of people than we normally would have," said Poole.
But while many transplant donations and operations were disrupted across the state over the last two years, Poole said they were still able to find new success.
"In 2021 and in 2020, we saved more lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation than and healed lives more than ever before."
And now they are hoping to add Franklin to their success stories.
"I'm happy to still be alive and I want to be able to have that second chance," Franklin said.
If you are thinking of becoming an organ donor, you can visit here to learn more.