Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Patient Stories


Heart Transplant Recipient

Melvin Jones had a sweet deal in Canton, Texas. Every month, he worked the popular First Monday Flea Market with his thriving concession stand. He was on the job when he suffered a massive heart attack. CareFlighted to a Tyler hospital, he was stabilized and stayed there until the Tyler doctors decided he needed more than the hospital could give him. He was transferred to Baylor.

That, Melvin says, was the best thing that ever happened to him. The heart attack had left him unable to walk or use his arms. Baylor worked with Melvin to get him back on his feet. But his heart was beyond repair. He was put on the list for a heart transplant.

It took four years to find a donor match. But then, one July morning, Melvin got the call. When he was told, “the doctors have a heart for you,” he froze, speechless. His wife had to finish the call. They drove to Dallas immediately. Melvin remembers the drive well – the thoughts racing in his head, the odd, numb feeling. It wasn’t until he got to Baylor that he relaxed. That night, Melvin got a new heart.

Today, Melvin wakes up every day knowing Baylor gave him a second chance. He feels very fortunate to have been around for the birth of his five grandchildren. His heart transplant gave him back all the abilities the heart attack took away. He uses one of those activities – riding motorcycles – to promote organ donation. He’s aware that people joke about motorcycle riders being “organ donors.” Yet, the words “Be a Donor” are stitched down the side of his pants, and he tells people he’s both a donor and a recipient. You could say he takes the joke to heart.

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One donor. Eight lives.