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Stan Larkin, 25, was not your average basketball player. Why? Because, until recently, he didn't actually have a heart.
And I mean that in the literal sense.
Along with his brother, Dominique, he suffered from familial cardiomyopathy. This is a genetic condition that basically means even if you're healthy, you could have heart failure without warning.
The pair were fitted with artificial hearts. Stan wore his 'heart' in a backpack that weighed nearly a stone (13.5lbs). The SynCardia device pumped oxygenated blood through his body while he waited for a transplant.
Luckily, Dominique found a donor within two weeks. Stan waited almost a year (555 days).
But this didn't stop him from leading an (almost) normal life. He even played basketball with his heart strapped on his back. His doctors were amazed.
Jonathan Haft, his surgeon, said: "This wasn't made for pick-up basketball. Stan pushed the envelope with this technology."
On May 9 this year, Stan's dream came true. A donor was found.
He told Michigan Live: "I got the transplant two weeks ago and I feel like I could take a jog as we speak.
"I'll probably run a few pick-up games, but not right away.
"I want to thank the donor who gave themselves for me. I'd like to meet their family one day. Hopefully they'd want to meet me."
What an inspirational story.
Words by Mel Ramsay
Featured image credit: YouTube/UMHealthSystem
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