LA recipient of historic heart transplant pays it forward by helping youth organ transplant patients

Eric Resendiz Image
Thursday, March 16, 2023
LA recipient of historic heart transplant giving back in a big way
41-year-old Michael Young was a part of medical history at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Now, he's helping youth organ transplant patients.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- About 30 years ago, Michael Young was 14 years old and became part of medical history with his heart transplant journey at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He was one of the youngest in the world to receive a left ventricular assist device for his weakened heart. Three months later, he got a new chance at life after successful heart transplant.

"Last week was my 27th anniversary to my transplant, and I never believed I could live this long. Back then, you know, I just kind of thought I was going to have an extra couple years," said Young. "I didn't think about college, I didn't think about a future."

Fast forward to today, Young is now 41 years old. He said he's young at heart and is still overcoming health challenges. Right before the pandemic started, Young was diagnosed with kidney cancer. After two surgeries, doctors told him he was cancer free. Now, he's on dialysis.

"About eight months ago, they ended up finding out that my kidneys were failing. So now I am on the waiting list for kidney transplant," said Young.

It was after the cancer treatment that Young told himself he wanted to give back to the transplant community.

He created his foundation a year ago called "Young At Heart" and a big fundraiser is being held this weekend. Young is on a mission to give the kids waiting for a transplant "Hope Kits" filled with plush toys, books and other items to give young patients and their families some comfort. Among those patients is little Sawyer the warrior, who just got a new heart.

"We are so proud of everything that's been going on with him. He's just a beautiful little baby that's hopefully gonna' go home soon," said Young. "It's hope. That's one of the biggest things we're giving."

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