Father gets life-saving heart transplant after 5 tries: ‘It’s a miracle’

Three months after the storm, he is recovering after receiving a new heart and a new lease on life. (KING, GOFUNDME, FACEBOOK, PATRICK HOLLAND, CNN)
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 2:13 AM CDT
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SEATTLE (KING) - Three months after an Alaska father missed out on a heart transplant due to an ice storm, he is now recovering after receiving a new heart and a new lease on life.

Patrick Holland is a father of seven from North Pole, Alaska. His December flight from Fairbanks to Seattle was canceled during an unprecedented ice storm, and he ultimately lost an opportunity for a heart transplant.

“I think I cried more that day than I have in my life and had exerted every emotion that I’ve never had,” Holland said.

Fast forward a few months later, and Holland is recovering in Seattle with a new heart.

“Oh my gosh, I can’t even explain it. It’s like literally dying, and someone is saying, ‘Here’s a new life,’” he said.

Holland’s road to get here has been filled with ups and downs. Heart disease ran in his family, and he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at 39. After three pacemakers, major bypass surgery and other procedures, he was put on the transplant list at 57.

“My life had been slowly taken away. Every six months, every heart attack, every cardiac arrest, you lose another part of you,” he said.

After missing his first chance at a new heart, Holland wasn’t going to let that happen again, so he temporarily moved to Seattle in January to wait for the next call.

“I got another call, and then it’s like, ‘Lay down everything.’ I told everybody, ‘Sorry, I got to go!’ And we got there, and then, that heart had a sickness. They couldn’t tell me what it was,” Holland said.

That would happen two more times.

Then, the phone rang again on March 30, and Holland got his fifth call for a heart.

“The fifth one, he goes, ‘You got an hour and a half to get here. This one is perfect for you.’ Doctor looked at me, and he said, ‘I’ll see you when you wake up,’” Holland said. “And I woke up, and I have this new heart and it’s pounding with authority.”

Holland had a post operation scare with internal bleeding and didn’t think he’d make it, but he was able to walk out of the hospital April 27.

“There’s genuine happiness running through here. It’s a gift from God, for sure. ... It’s a miracle. I’m going to help a lot of people with this heart. So, whoever is out there, don’t worry. It’s not wasted,” he said.

Once Holland is fully recovered, he will return to Alaska, where he’s looking forward to not only seeing his family again but also helping to care for seniors in the state.