Saturday, October 29, 2011

Talking with Bill Coon

Almost a year after reading SWIM: A Memoir of Survival and corresponding with the author, Bill Coon, by email, Facebook and Twitter, I finally got to meet him in real life in mid-October at the American Heart Heroes Regional Family Conference in Gainesville, Florida. He was the featured speaker at the conference, highlighting key messages of surrounding yourself with people who support you, setting goals, digging deep and fighting for your life, advocating for yourself, and taking good care of your health.

Born in 1989 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Bill is a two-time heart transplant recipient. At 3 weeks old, he was the fourth infant heart transplant performed in the Midwest, and the eighth in the nation. In 2009, he went into heart and kidney failure and suffered from cardiac transplant vasculopathy. In late 2009, he received a new kidney and his second heart. Since his recovery, he has been inspiring those with chronic and critical illness to keep fighting. He is also a living testament to the importance of organ donation.

During the conference, we spent some time Talking with Bill.