A heart-felt appeal: Today also is National Donor Day

NJ Sharing Network making its annual effort to education everyone on its organ and tissue donation program

After you get past those way-too-big teddy bears, roses and other flowers, and chocolate (which better be top quality, just sayin’), here is hoping you’ll spend Valentine Day’s doing one more thing: Thinking about organ donation.

That’s the word from the NJ Sharing Network, which is making its annual “heart-felt” appeal on a day that also has been designated National Donor Day.

We promise, we’re not throwing a wet blanket on your warm intentions, we’re just using the day to remind folks that, for some, the phrase “Giving of your heart” has a different meaning.

Ronald Trout, 65, sure feels that way.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Trout’s lifesaving heart transplant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

A resident of Long Branch, Trout was eager to stress the importance of organ and tissue donation and the powerful impact it has had on his life.

“When I wake up each day, I immediately give a special heartfelt thanks to my heart donor and his family and the amazing team at NBI for giving me a second chance to live life to its fullest and enjoy more time with my family and friends,” he said.

Trout’s journey was like so many others. In 2012, he had a serious heart attack that nearly ended his life. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and a pacemaker was inserted. In 2018, as his health continued to deteriorate, he was added to the heart transplant waiting list.

“I was losing hope, but I had a dream where a beautiful voice said: ‘It’s not your time to go yet, Ronnie. I want you to keep hanging in there,’” he said. “Those words helped give me the strength to keep going.”

Ronald Trout with his grandchildren, Derrick and Jaxson Trout.

Shortly after his dream, Trout received a call from NBI that a donated heart was ready for him —  and a successful heart transplant was performed Feb. 14, 2019.

For those not familiar with the NJ Sharing Network, it’s an organization that literally does life-saving work.

Headquartered in New Providence, it is a federally designated nonprofit organization focused on saving and enhancing lives through the recovery of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State.

NJ Sharing Network partners with an extensive network of 54 local hospitals to provide hope for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list.

For five consecutive years, NJ Sharing Network has reported organ donation records.

Trout sure is grateful.

He shares his story with others as much as he can in an effort to encourage more people to register as organ and tissue donors. He also gives hope to those waiting for the gift of life by sharing some thoughts expressed in his poems, including: “It’s best to laugh, but OK to cry,” and “Chant, pray, sing the night away. Whatever helps you through to another day.”

For more information on joining the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, click here.