"To think where I was 20 years ago today, I was so close to death." Meet John Weakly or better yet, let him greet you. That's just what john has been doing at Faxton St. Luke's ever since he received his new heart. Nearly thirty years ago john suffered his first heart attack, after many doctor's visits and another heart attack the doctors decided after fifty-four years of work his heart needed to be replaced.
Weakley says, "I'm here because somebody made that decision, you know, to donate their loved ones organs, at probably the most difficult time in this families lives because they lost their youngest child to an accident. And they decided to donate his organs and because they did that I've been able to live the dream and that's what I'm doing really living the dream."
When patients walk through that door many are nervous and don't know what to expect, but John has been in their situation before and he know just what to say.
"I know what they're going through, I've been through it. And I can tell when people come in if their anxious or nervous and scared and everything like that. And I think by taking them by the hand or getting them a wheelchair and just getting them to where they have to go I think makes them feel so much better and their more positive going into the procedure" says Weakley.
Jerry Plows, the Relationship Based Coordinator at Faxton St. Luke's says, "The biggest thing patient's deal with when they come into the hospital really is fear some times. You see John smiling and he really greets you and he takes you under his wing, it immediately alleviates that and it takes away some stress."
Over the years John has committed himself to helping others by giving more than thirteen thousand hours of his time. But he never forgets where it all comes from and he's always trying to raise awareness.
Weakley added, "We really need to get more people out there to discuss their wishes with their families, let their family know what they want done with their body if something happens to them."