LifeGift - Story (Wayne Battles)On Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Story - Wayne Battles (Organ Recipient)
Organ Donations have affected thousands of people around the world. Check out this inspiring story!
Wayne Battles, 55, went in for a routine physical only to learn he had congestive heart failure. By March 1997, he was on the waiting list for a heart.
But Wayne’s family – including his wife, whom he’d known since birth – feared it was already too late. The very next day, he was removed from the waiting list due to a leaking right valve. During surgery to fix the valve, Wayne slipped into a semi coma.
His family waited and prayed for six weeks before Wayne woke up. At the end of May, Wayne suddenly made a recovery, and was deemed healthy enough to be put back on the waiting list.
“The doctors and nurses had no medical explanation of this turn around,” Wayne recalled. “My faith tells me it truly was a miracle.”
But Wayne and Sharon still had another miracle to pray for – a matching heart. They never prayed for anyone to die; they only prayed for God’s will to be done, and that if a donor were found, that donor would be a Christian, with faith in eternal life.
The match was found on June 23.
The heart belonged to Lindsay Fankhauser, 16. Lindsay loved music, played softball and was active in her church youth group. She had just returned from a mission trip when a semi truck collided with the car she was riding in. Lindsay wasn’t a registered donor; she didn’t even have her driver’s license yet. But her mother and stepfather knew it was what she would have wanted.
“It’s one of the biggest and best decisions I’ve ever made,” said her mother, Sherri Valder. “Just knowing that someone else is living because of my daughter’s gift has been such a blessing. It helped so much in my grieving process.”
For about a year, Wayne and the Valder family exchanged anonymous correspondence through Southwest Transplant Alliance, until finally they decided to meet. Wayne and Sharon drove from North Richland Hills, Texas, up to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma on Sept. 19, 1998.
“It was a wonderful weekend, meeting Lindsay’s family and friends,” Wayne said. “They were our heroes.”
“There were a lot of tears and hugs,” Sherri added. “I asked if I could feel his new heart beating. It was such an incredible feeling. I told him he had a good heart.”
Countless people in Wayne’s life depend on his healthy, giving heart. Wayne and Sharon volunteer for LifeGift, speaking at health fairs and other events. He visits and encourages patients who are waiting for heart transplants at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He also cares for his sister, and is active in his church and at his local Masonic Lodge.
Then there’s the matter of grandchildren.
“I am able to live the hope I had from receiving a lifesaving transplant. I was able to see four of my six grandchildren grow from infancy to adulthood, and I am able to be active with them and in their lives. They give me hope for the future.”
How has organ and tissue donation brought hope to your life?
Organ and tissue donation has brought me hope by being able to be active and lead a completely normal life.
What else gives you hope?
The continued fellowship and support of friends and family in a Christian lifestyle.
What’s your life motto?
Every day is a good day!