On October fifth of this year Rod Haslam resigned from the county council due to health concerns. Haslam had been suffering for many years with a heart conditioned that worsened during his time on the council. By the eleventh of October Haslam was hospitalized to await a heart transplant. He was placed on medication and then began the wait for a transplant.
Haslam was nearing the longest time that those awaiting transplants can be on the medication when on the eighteenth of November the doctors informed him that they had a transplant. It was a wonderful blessing and saved Haslam’s life. He said, “I can’t explain how you feel… For me to have a great gift someone has to experience sorrow.”
Haslam is doing well. He said that he felt the positive effects of the surgery by the second day. The normal recovery time in the hospital is two or more weeks, but by the end of the first week Haslam had recovered enough to go home from the hospital.
For the next four months Haslam will be on medication that helps to ensure that his body does not reject the transplant. The medication suppresses his immune system and so he cannot be around other people and cannot go into stores or other public locations. Haslam will be on medication to keep his body from rejecting the transplant for the rest of his life, but once the initial medication and physical therapy is complete he will be able to return to normal activities.
Haslam’s miracle was made possible because someone chose to be an organ donor. There are many individuals who are on waiting lists for transplants for extended periods of time. Some do not receive transplants in time to save their lives, and others suffer additional health problems from the delay awaiting a transplant.
Utah has one of the highest rates of participation in the organ donor program. More than sixty five percent of Utahans have signed up as donors, but more are needed to provide life saving organs for those awaiting transplants. The deaths of many donors are not in circumstances that allow for their organs to be used. Every donor that qualifies can save up to nine lives.
Should tragedy strike in our lives it is nice to know that good can come of it. Haslam, his family, and the whole of Morgan county has been blessed by an individual who decided to give of themselves. Their decision made possible for us to continue to have “Big Hearted Haslam” bless the lives of county residents for many years to come. Each of us may have this opportunity to bless the lives of others if we take time to participate in organ donation.
To sign up for organ donation an application can be downloaded from yesutah.org and mailed to The Utah Donor Registry (their address can be found at yesutah.org). Registering for organ donation can also be done at the time of the renewal of a driver’s license. Simply indicate yes when renewing or applying for a driver’s license or state id card.
Haslam still has many months of recovery in front of him, but his optimistic and grateful attitude come through loud and clear in conversations with him. It will be a great sight to see Haslam once again on his horse participating in judging rodeos, volunteering at the fairgrounds, and participating in all that he does to help his family, friends, and the county. At this holiday season we are grateful for those who choose to give this wonderful gift of life.