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MY UNSUNG HERO - ANDY DAVIS

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain, sharing the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. Today's story comes from Andy Davis. A few years ago, Davis and his wife decided to ride their bikes across the country. They spent months training for their adventure, but one day in 2020, just a few months before they planned to leave, Davis felt an intense pain across his chest.

ANDY DAVIS: I was sent by helicopter twice to different hospitals. I was stabilized, and I emerged from that in heart failure. And it was incredible because I was so fit, and just a couple months later, I could barely shuffle around my own home. By November, I was placed on the heart transplant list, and you don't know if you're going to get a heart if you're placed on the list. You just hope. And my condition deteriorated really quickly, and so a balloon was placed in my aorta, which - I'd never had that done before. But that lasted for 11 days, and on the 12th day, December 12, I learned that my new heart was on its way and went into surgery hoping that I would see people and my family on the other side. I was never able to meet my unsung hero. Her name was Sarah Ivy. And I know from speaking with her husband that she was a mother and a wife, and at this point, she is now literally a part of me. I've been living with my new heart now for over a year. Believe it or not, my wife and I are now dreaming about taking that cross-country bicycle trip again. I'm shocked. And I marvel at the fact that I'm still alive, and I'm still with my family. And I think about Sarah and her family, who during those incredible times of grief, made the difficult choice to grant others life through organ donation. I truly believe that the heartbeat of humanity, empathy, care and compassion are alive and well because of countless unsung heroes like Sarah Ivy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SHAPIRO: Andy Davis lives in Indiana, Pa. He's planning to meet Sarah Ivy's family for the first time in August. He hopes to ride the 200 miles there on his bike. You can find more stories on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast, and to share the story of your unsung hero, visit myunsunghero.org for instructions on how to send a voice memo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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