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PERSONAL STORIES

A monthly story of personal strength and courage. This month's story:

MAKING THE MOST OF 2ND CHANCE AT LIFE


The Story of Ron McKenney

Before a heart attack in 1990, Ron McKenney didn't have much interest in organ transplant or organ donation. "Now you can't get me out of it," says the retired pipe fitter and volunteer for several health organizations such as Life Center, Change of Heart, American Heart Association and volunteer for Mercy Health Systems. "I really promote organ donor awareness now since I am a recipient."

His heart attack led to a five-year battle , several months connected to a heart machine and, in 1997, a heart transplant. The new heart gave Mr. McKenney, of Miami Township in Clermont County, a second chance of life-and he's making the most of it. He is President of Change of Heart, a support group that counsels people with heart failure and helps those who have had heart transplants.

"Basically, the first three months (after transplant) is a very stressful time," he said. "we also give new heart transplant recipients a going home package with articles that will assist them when they get home with their new heart, I get the enjoyment now of helping other people."

He works with Life Center, promoting organ donation. And he volunteers several days a week in the libraries of the various Mercy Hospitals, paying bills and keeping material updated.

When talking to groups about organ donation and awareness, fighting the fallacies is an uphill battle. "Education is the key to try to dispel some of the myths and falsehoods of organ donation," he said. "There are a lot of misconceptions we're trying to overcome. Organ donation won't interrupt a funeral and visitation. There is virtually no age limit for donors. No religion is actually against the practice, the body is treated with respect and dignity," he said.

To find out more about organ donation you can call 513-558-5555 or 1-800-981-LIFE.





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