Salt Lake City, Utah heard something very few people expected to hear Monday, February 15, 2010. Not a voice from above or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Hip-Hop, but the sound of one man playing a keyboard as Paul Cardall performed his first live concert in two years.
The doctors told Paul that his heart was giving out on him, that he needed a transplant. When they say you need a transplant, they don’t discuss any other options, because there aren’t any. Yes, you can get a Left Ventricle Assist Device (LVAD) to help it keep pumping, but that really isn’t an answer. The only true answer is a new heart.
They told Paul Cardall he needed a new heart, and the race began. It is a race, you see. How long can we keep that old heart going? Will it last until a donor heart is found? Because now the clock is in control, and it is constantly ticking away. There is no calling a Time-Out in this game.
Paul actually got The Call – on Christmas Eve, no less – but it wasn’t meant to be. That heart had a problem and the doctors rejected it. So the waiting begins again.
385 days after Paul was first listed for a transplant, The Call came again. Another heart. Another chance. This one looked good and Paul’s faithful old heart was replaced. The final step would be to shock the new organ with a defibrillator, but the organ began to beat on its own. Nonplussed, the surgeon zapped it anyway.
Recovery wasn’t easy; you never look chipper right after surgery. But it was in the hospital that Paul’s friend and record producer came to him with an idea: A concert to celebrate Paul’s second chance. “Let’s celebrate life,” the friend said. “Run with it,” Paul responded.
And run with it he did. One of the first things he did was book Abravanel Hall, THE musical venue in Salt Lake City. No small dreams here, no sir. They also put together a silent auction to fund a scholarship for someone affected by Congenital Heart Disease, and the community responded with some wonderful items.
And then it was showtime. Taking a deep breath to calm the butterflies in his stomach (and the pounding of his new heart,) Paul Cardall walked out on stage for the first time in two years.
And 2700 people came to their feet.
Let’s Celebrate Life!
Tags: Abravanel Hall, CHD, concert, Congenital Heart Defect, Congenital Heart Disease, Heart Transplant, Keyboard, Living for Eden, Musician, Paul Cardall, Salt Lake City, Transplant, Tricuspid Atresia