ALBANY, N.Y., May 19, 2005 - An Albany teenager who played football last fall for Wagner College met with reporters today at the Albany Medical Center to discuss becoming the first person to receive the life-extending surgery at Albany Med since the institution reopened its program last November.
Alvin “Sean” Grant thanked the physicians, nurses and support staff that took care of him and vowed to take good care of his new heart. He also thanked his anonymous donor.
“I have a re-start on life, I’d say,” he remarked. “I am very grateful for this new heart and I’m going to take good care of it. I’m thankful that this person listed themselves as an organ donor and that they were willing to help save a life.”
Last fall Grant was a freshman at Wagner College on Staten Island where he was studying to become a graphic designer and playing outside linebacker on the college’s junior varsity football team. But toward the end of the semester, he began feeling ill and gradually deteriorated to the point where he felt too weak to walk. Grant ended up being hospitalized, first at Memorial Hospital and then at St. Peter’s Hospital and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which is characterized by a weakening of the heart muscle.
On Jan. 19 he was transferred from St. Peter’s to the Heart Institute at the Albany Medical Center. On Feb. 12 his name was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant with the United Network for Organ Sharing and on Sunday, April 17, in a four-hour procedure at the Medical Center, Grant received a new heart.
Now, Grant is recovering at home and plans to return to Wagner in the fall. While he is resigned to the fact that he will never play collegiate football again, he hasn’t ruled out returning to some kind of athletic activity. “Right now I’m just thinking about recovering and trying to catch up on some of my school work. I hope to someday have my own graphic design firm.”
Overall, Grant was the 89th to receive a heart transplant at the Medical Center.
Grant’s physicians at Albany Med include: Laszlo Fuzesi, M.D., the Medical Center’s heart transplant surgeon, a member of Capital Cardiology Associates, and
co-director of the Heart TransplantProgram; heart transplant cardiologist Edward Philbin, M.D., the George Pataki chair in cardiology, co-director of the Heart Transplant Program and vice chairman of the department, and heart transplant cardiologist Mohamad El-Zaru, M.D., of Albany Associates in Cardiology.