Kalaheo’s Scott Brown knows full well that he walks this earth only because someone somewhere indicated that he or she wished to be an organ donor.
And he gives thanks for that every day, too.
Brown, 37, a Waimea High School graduate, was at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center getting a pump put into his chest to help his failing heart nearly two years ago, and still was given just 24 hours to live by his doctors, when he was informed that a donor heart was available to replace his.
He had the heart-transplant surgery, and today is an active husband, father, and business man. But he will never forget the anonymous donor who gave him the continued gift of life, and since recovering from the surgery has made it his mission to let more people know about the importance of donating human organs so others may continue living.
An eight-by-10 photograph hanging in his living room, showing him in his hospital bed after the surgery, with more tubes coming out of him than the most complex high-school chemistry experiments, is a daily reminder of how lucky he is to be alive, thanks to the kindness of a stranger, he said.
The picture helps reinforce his feeling of gratitude of being alive, and he doesn’t want that feeling to fade, said Brown.
He wants to offer hope to others in similar situations by working with the folks at the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii to encourage more Hawai’i and Kaua’i residents to join donor registries.
“I’m available for whatever they have,” he said of those at the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii.
Giving back comes naturally to Brown, who with his wife Marisa recently returned from the UCLA Medical Center, where he befriended a 23-year-old man with a failing heart who is on the heart-transplant waiting list.
The young man has a young child, and was under-standably frightened about the waiting game, the future of his family, the surgery, and many other matters, Brown said.
He and his wife spent several hours at the man’s bedside, and the two have become good friends, exchanging e-mails, photographs and telephone calls, he said.
Brown, who works at Global Mortgage, received his new heart on Feb. 11, 2004, and goes back to UCLA Medical Center for his two-year angiogram in February of next year, where he will again see Dr. Jaime Moriguchi, a cardiologist and fellow Waimea High School graduate who is in charge of the UCLA Medical Center heart-transplant program.
While there, Brown will participate in a bicycle tour of Palm Springs (he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll do the 25-, 50- or 100-mile distance), then check out a super-cross event in San Diego.
Back on Kaua’i, he is looking at organizing a five- or 10-kilometer fun walk and run next year, with part of the event to include organ-donor-awareness information. Minority donors, especially, are needed, he said.
“It’s so good to be home. I like being back,” he said of Kaua’i.
Marisa and Scott Brown live in Kalaheo with their daughters, Jordan, 8, and Megan, 6.
He may be reached at 634-2196, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through a Web site, www.teamheartthrob.com.
- Paul C. Curtis, associate editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or email@example.com