Patrick Carroll waits for a phone call, knowing his life could completely change with one ring.
Carroll, 35, is waiting for a heart transplant. Since being put on the transplant list last December, the implications of what this means for his life and family are never far from his mind.
“It was awesome to know that you’re in line, but at the same time you’re still scared and nervous, because you have this life-changing surgery coming up,” said Carroll. “It could be at any moment; the phone could ring right this second with them saying you have to be up at Stanford within four hours. My life will change basically in a flash—from what it is now to a lot healthier.”
On Saturday, friends, family and other community members can go to the , 1105 S. Green Valley Rd., to support Carroll and his family at a . Tickets cost $7 and will help Carroll and his family cover the medical costs that come with his life-saving surgery, rehabilitation and future medical care.
Carroll suffers from a rare congenital heart defect—transposition of the great arteries. Born with the two main arteries leaving the heart reversed, his heart does not pump blood in the direction it needs to. Carroll first underwent open-heart surgery when he was only 18 months old, with plans to perform a second surgery later in childhood. However, he was in such good health throughout childhood that doctors decided to wait. Carroll’s heart strength weakened, though, and it was finally time to put Carroll on the transplant waiting list.
Carroll’s family—his wife, Samantha, and their 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter—moved to Watsonville from Long Beach a few years ago. The supportive community, his job at Auto Care Towing and medical treatment available at Stanford Hospital has proved it to be a decision he could not be happier with.
“I love it up here.” Carroll said. “We didn’t know it at the time, but it’s been the best move we’ve ever done, between getting out of the city and away from the stress and getting up to Stanford to see the great doctors there.”
Post-surgery, Carroll will have to leave home temporarily. After one or two weeks in the hospital, he will need to live close to Stanford Hospital for continued medical attention, primarily to monitor his body for any signs it is rejecting his new heart. Carroll will be unable to work for at least two or three months. Fundraisers like Saturday’s play an important part in covering the Carroll family’s expenses during that time.
Also at Saturday’s fundraiser will be Gill Warren, a friend and volunteer with the California Transplant Donor Network. Warren will provide information on how to become an organ, eye or tissue donor. Warren’s volunteer work introduced him to Carroll and his family.
“He’s just a hell of a nice young kid with a family, and you look the enormous expenses and want to help,” said Warren, whose own son underwent a heart transplant many years ago.
The Carrolls hope for a large walk-up crowd for the breakfast. It goes from 7:30-10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at Auto Care Towing.