AUSTIN, Texas – (May 30, 2013) – To celebrate his 25th “rebirthday,” Twain Schieffer, Central Texas’ longest living heart transplant recipient, was surrounded by family, friends, doctors and nurses gathered May 24 at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, site of this community’s only heart transplant center.
And in all their hearts was a 16-year-old Illinois boy killed in a 1988 car wreck – the boy’s heart still beating within Schieffer’s chest.
A framed photo of the teenager was placed beside a “Happy Rebirthday” card everyone was signing for Schieffer, who is now 81 years old and was 56 on May 25, 1988, when he had the heart transplant.
Normally, Schieffer keeps the picture on top of his TV as a daily reminder of his gratitude. A quarter century ago, he was told he had 48 hours to live. The donated heart arrived in 32 hours.
“I thank the Lord for having these 25 years,” Schieffer said in an Austin American Statesman story. “It’s meant a whole lot of living.”
Schieffer’s “rebirthday” party was attended by his wife of 63 years, Latrelle; daughtersShelley Bockhorn and KayLee Cox; and other family members, including an infant great grandchild and granddaughter Katie Cox, 20 – neither of whom he would have known had he not gotten his donated heart.
Smiling and laughing with him were other heart transplant patients; Dr. John (Chip) Oswalt, who performed the transplant 25 years ago; Dr. David Morris, his cardiologist; and others from the Ascension Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center. The event also was covered by KXAN and YNN.