Baptist Heart Transplant Recipient Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary

Perry Hayes just celebrated the 15th anniversary of his heart transplant. He got his heart transplant at the Baptist Heart Institute at Baptist Memphis, which has the only certified adult heart transplant program in the region.

He said, “My surgeons, my cardiologist and the nurses of the transplant ICU gave me such great care. In the 15 years since my transplant, the continued support I have received from the Baptist Heart Transplant Program has allowed me to live an active and productive life.”

Perry isn’t from Memphis, but he’s lived in the area for more than 30 years and has raised his children here with his wife.

“I had a disease called sarcoidosis. It caused me to have irregular heart rhythms that developed into ventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. As my heart function got worse, I developed congestive heart failure,” explained Perry.

Perry was 42 years old when he received his heart transplant after waiting in the hospital for one month until a donor heart became available. He now receives follow-up care around five times a year and takes daily medications.

“I have done extraordinarily well. I do not have many limitations, as far as activities go. I have a long list of medicines that I will have to take every day — for the rest of my life,” noted Perry.

While Perry acknowledges it’s natural to be afraid of the unknown, he advises potential heart transplant recipients to ask lots of questions and talk with successful transplant recipients. Perry said, “Surround yourself with positive people. Dedicate time to prayer and turn to God for strength. The surgery seems very scary and complicated, but medical science has come a really long way in regard to transplantation.”

According to the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, more than 4,000 people in the Mid-South are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Residents of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee can register to be a donor at Mid-South Transplant Foundation.

“My donor family truly gave me the gift of life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend these wonderful years with my family,” said Perry.