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Osakis man receives ultimate gift

Stan Schultz (right) was treated by Dr. Michael Samara, MD, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. (Contributed photo)

All across the country, there are hundreds of people on a list. That list is the donor list that will give people a chance for a new life.

Until three weeks ago, Stan Schultz of Osakis was one of them. He received a new heart on February 22.

He had been on the list for 103 days before the good news came, spending the time confined to a hospital room.

“The wait is the worst part of the whole thing,” he said. “You cannot believe the feeling that comes over you when you receive the news that the right heart is on its way.”

It wouldn’t be possible without someone willing to be a donor. Many people die each year because there are not enough organ donors, Schultz said.

“Take it from me, there are no words to express the gratitude you feel when you receive the news,” he said. “Somewhere, there was a very special person that became an organ donor and gave me a second chance of life.”

Schultz, who has been an EMT for the ambulance service for more than 30 years, noted that most people don’t think about the donor program until they know somebody who needs it. “You never think that maybe it could be you,” he said.

During his years as an EMT, Schultz has seen a lot of heart attacks and heart disease. He never thought it would happen to him.

“I had a heart attack at age 38 that damaged a major part of my heart,” he said. “Then I needed bypass surgery a few years later. This worked for a few years, but I was going downhill. I had some stents put in but they only delayed the last step, a heart transplant.”

Schultz said there was no feeling better than when the doctor and his staff walked into his room and told him that a new heart was on the way. “I am so grateful that somewhere, somebody gave me the ultimate gift.”

During this process, Schultz said he met some incredible people, from his team of transplant doctors and surgeons to the nurses and staff in the intensive care unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with the doctors and transplant coordinator that had to answer all the questions and explain what I was to expect,” he said. “The nursing staff in ICU...are unbelievable. They made my long wait as pleasant as it could be. In my book, they are all number one. The entire team at Abbott are the best there is. I will never be able to thank them enough for what they did.”

Schultz also thanks all those that sent him cards and letters. “They helped me get through some very long days,” he said. “I want to thank my wife and family for all the support they gave me; I couldn’t have done it without them. Mostly, I want to thank the family of the donor that gave me my new heart; there aren’t enough words to express how I feel.”

Schultz emphasized that it’s easy to become a donor. You simply fill out a form when you get a driver’s license or you can even do it online at www.organdonor.gov. “So please, consider being a donor,” he said.

If anyone reading this story has questions on becoming an organ donor, Schultz invites them to call him at (320) 859-2268.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
(320) 763-1233
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