Saying this was not a great weekend seems like a bit of a colossal understatement. But if you’re anything like us, you could probably use some good news right about now.
Stan Larkin’s story sounds like total WTF science fiction: the 25-year-old father of three lived for over a year and a half carrying his heart — AKA the most vital of our vital organs — around in a backpack.
That’s because, for 555 days, Larkin was living off a portable artificial heart called the Freedom Driver (which sounds more like an American flag-print golf club than a revolutionary life-saving medical device, but I digress). Literally wearing his heart, not on his sleeve, but on his back.
After Larkin and his younger brother Dominique were diagnosed with a genetic heart disease, both brothers were put on the transplant list. But while Dominique got his replacement in six weeks, Stan was forced to wait a little longer for his. Like 513 days longer. But who’s counting, right?
Luckily though, thanks to Larkin’s artificial heart — a 13-pound machine he wore in a gray backpack — his story had a happy ending. He was allowed to leave the hospital, go home, stay active, play with his kids. Even play pick-up basketball. (Which, no offence to MJ, kind of makes the Flu Game seem just a little less impressive by comparison… ) Then, just last month, Larkin underwent successful transplant surgery.
According to CNN, about 4,000 people in the U.S. are currently standing by for heart transplants — a waiting list that puts the wait for Hamilton tickets into perspective, eh, New Yorkers?— leaving many waiting months or even years before one becomes available. But stories like Larkin’s show it’s possible to live a (close-to) normal life even in the craziest of situations, thanks to game-changing advancements in medical tech.
So, there’s your heartwarming story for the day. (Sorry.)