In November of 2014, just as many of us were preparing for the holidays, Tim Gallagher experienced a “widow-maker” heart attack. Thanks to the quick actions of his family, first responders, and his doctors, Tim survived the ordeal. But most importantly, it was the decision made by one anonymous family that ultimately saved Tim’s life. That decision became the gift of a lifetime – a life-saving heart transplant.

Through the harrowing process he developed a new sense of gratitude: for the first responders whose quick actions undoubtedly saved his life, to the doctors and the American Heart Association (AHA) whose practices and research made his story possible, to the donor family whose incredible generosity in one of their darkest times gave him the chance to live longer. Since then, Tim has focused on how he can channel that gratitude by giving back to the the people who helped him, so that others can experience the same gift of life.

To learn more about Tim’s story, as well as the origin of 1heart2lives, please watch the video below:

Tim’s experience shows that a heart attack not only impacts the patient, it affects family, friends, coworkers and all those surrounding the patient. In the case of a heart transplant the impact grows significantly as the lives of the donor family and their extended family, friends and coworkers are also impacted.

In this season of Thanksgiving, please reflect on how much we all depend on our family and friends in good times and in bad. Please extend your Thanksgiving prayers to all those in the medical and emergency professions who serve us tirelessly by responding to our needs when we need them most. And please give thanks for the American Heart Association, whose many lifesaving breakthroughs funded by our monetary donations is the unifying force behind cardio research, community and national education programs, and behind curing and preventing heart disease and stroke. For the first time in a century, heart disease and stoke have begun to decline, to a large degree due to the mission of the AHA.

Lastly, please thank those families, many who remain anonymous, whose lost loved ones gave life unselfishly by giving the ultimate gift. They live on through the lives of their precipitants.

With Gratitude, 1heart 2lives