Waiting for a New Heart – Introduction

Bill Coon

Bill Coon

For the past six weeks, 20-year-old Columbia College student Bill Coon has been waiting for a heart transplant. His story has been covered in Columbia’s campus paper, CBS in Chicago, the Daily Herald and extensively by Bill’s cousin who is a reporter in Wisconsin.

In connecting with Bill a few weeks back, we asked if he’d be willing to share some of his thoughts for us here as he patiently awaits his new heart. It’s rare that we’re able to share a very raw transplant patient perspective, and we thank Bill for his willingness to do so. We’ll post updates from Bill when we can.  Below is a brief intro from Bill.

-Scott

Introduction

Twenty years ago I was born with a defective heart. To be specific; I was born with a hypoplastic left ventricle. On my twenty-first day of life I became the fourth infant transplant in the Midwest, and the eighth in the nation. Since then, my life has been outstanding. Because of my infant donor, I have been able to lead a normal life. I went to school, played baseball, had girlfriends; I was your typical 20-year-old.

Then, on Monday, June 8, 2009, my life changed. I was diagnosed with an unknown form of heart failure, later deemed “transplant vasculopathy.” My heart had begun to fail me. Not only that, but my kidneys were slowly deteriorating as well after years of taking anti-rejection medications. For a month, I struggled with the sadness, and my constant worries about my future.

However, my support system was phenomenal. I had so many friends and family helping me through my crisis that I eventually realized just how important a support system is. It then came to me that there are so many people waiting for donors, that many of them may not have the same support system I do. They are probably scared, and unsure of what is going to happen next. I began to write a journal with the hopes of showing anyone waiting for an organ that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also hoped to somehow help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

What you will be reading in future posts are excerpts from my forthcoming book SWIM. I will continue to post more exerts as my journey back to normalcy continues.

Keep Swimming,
Bill Coon

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20 Responses to Waiting for a New Heart – Introduction

  1. Lisa says:

    Wow! what a story.

  2. Cynthia Zarkowsky says:

    Hey Bill! I think about you and pray for you daily! You are so amazing and I am wishing you wonderful news soon! All the best, Cynthia Zarkowsky

  3. […] ask that anyone who reads this blog please check out the following journal written by my sister’s neighbor. Bill is a 20-year old college student who has been in intensive care for almost two months waiting […]

  4. Denise Karp says:

    Bill, My family prays for you daily. I have spread the word for prayers and for the Gift of Lift to anyone who will listen. I have faith that a heart will come your way soon and you will be allowed to continue your incredible life journey. We send our love to you and your wonderful family,
    Denise Karp

  5. Nancy Polancich says:

    Bill – Please know that you continue to be in our prayers daily. We know that you and your family have what it takes to do this. Stronger people we have never known!

    Much love,
    Mrs. P.

  6. leigh butterbrodt says:

    Hi Bill ~ It is GREAT to hear that you are working on a journal – there is no greater way for people to even REMOTELY understand what-all you are enduring. Your book will be a fantastic way to convey HOPE and a POSITIVE OUTLOOK to so many others on the waiting lists for various organs, AND to their caregivers as well! They will connect with you and your emotional, physical and psychological strength for many many many years to come. Who knows? It may become “required reading” for ANYONE who finds themselves on a transplant list! A fantastic legacy and I pray and pray that you will be right there, onstage with that brilliant smile, to enjoy the accolades it brings! God Speed You Into Health! *leigh

  7. Betty Barboro says:

    Bill, we’re looking forward to you and your wacky friends zooming too fast up and down Braemar again! Love & faith, Betty, Dave & Kevin

  8. Annie Carole & Uncle Jim Walker says:

    Dear Bill, We have always thought of you as our Miracle from God. We KNOW that God will be there for you…and the LOVE of another family will Donate the vital HEART & KIDNEY that you NEED.
    We pray for you 24/7 and want so very much for you to continue your remarkable lifes adventure.
    Love & God Bless, our MIRACLE Bill.
    Annie Carole & Uncle Jim.

  9. Grandma and Bompi says:

    Dear Bill, We know you had a set-back today, but you can get through this one just like you did all the other ones. You are a wonderful, strong, beautiful young man who has a wonderful life ahead of him. Stay strong, God will answer our prayers soon.
    We love you so much, God Bless you.
    Grandma & Bompi

  10. Eleni says:

    You are an inspiration to so many people! Your strength will pay off in the end.

  11. cindy passarelli says:

    Bill– Our family and friends pray for you daily…for we know there is nothing stronger than prayer. We know the Lord will lift you up and comfort you while you wait. He is molding all of those around you. The Lord will bless you and keep you. He is ALWAYS in control. You are a an inspiring example of one dealing with troubled times and knowing that you are NOT ALONE.

    Love in Christ

    Cindy Passarelli (Dan’s wife)

  12. Casey McCullough says:

    bill, i go to school with your brother (he’s my sisters age, a year older) and i always get updates via email about you from my church youth director. I hope that things improve for you, and I wish you the best.
    -casey

  13. Kelsi Schindler says:

    Bill, I work with Natalie in Wausau. I think about you and your family often — you’re in my hearts and prayers.

  14. […] the Daily Eastern News wrote an excellent article about Carissa Coon’s (yes, sister of Bill Coon) campus outreach efforts. We’ve included a few photos below of Carissa and team in […]

  15. Lia Tibavido says:

    Bill,
    You and your family are amazing and such an inspiration to everyone who has been touched by your story. I have been pryaing for you since your story came through on our prayer chain at church. I was sharing your story with my daughter who is off at college, Jenny Nilsen, and once I said your name she was very surprised of your situation. She had nothing but positive things to say about you and how you are always cheerful and positive and you always have a positive impact on others! Hope that things turn around for you soon and keep up your beautiful spirit as much as you can.

  16. […] For a New Heart – September Entries In a recent post, we told you about Bill Coon, a 20-year-old college student currently waiting for a heart […]

  17. Diana Mueller says:

    Our continued thoughts & prayers; we think of you and your family daily and cannot imagine what you are going through. It’s hard to think of what to write, but your strength and optimism inspire us. We are confident all our prayers will be answered soon & you will be home (while on break from Columbia) and we will be able to hug you in person. With prayers….Joe, Di, Matt & Nick

  18. […] the Swim Team- Transplant Recipient Bill Coon Releases Book Many of you are familiar with Bill Coon as he shared his experience waiting for a heart and kidney transplant with the DLI blog readers. […]

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    […]Waiting for a New Heart – Introduction « Donate Life Illinois – Organ Donation News – I am. Are you?[…]…

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