Earl Jones

Celebrating the #giftoflife as a dad and grandpa, two decades post-heart transplant

At 57 years old, Earl Jones takes a number of his titles seriously–dad, organ donation advocate, and most recently, grandpa.

Before he received his life-saving heart transplant at 30 years old, Earl wasn’t guaranteed the joyous moments with his children, let alone the potential to know his grandchildren. At the time, his children were just kids themselves, and his health was in a life-threatening decline.

Although he was born with a genetic heart defect, Earl lived a normal and happy childhood–it wasn’t detected until he was 12 years old. But in August of 1995, a persistent cough led him to the emergency room where he received a devastating diagnosis–he was in congestive heart failure and in need of a heart transplant.

He waited about two months in the hospital before receiving the gift of a heart transplant from his donor hero, a 22 year-old man. He was out of the hospital and back home after four months.

That was over 20 years ago.

 “There’s definitely a myth that you can’t live a bountiful life post-transplant, but I’m here to debunk that myth,” Earl says.

Since his transplant, he’s watched his children grow into adulthood and become parents themselves. Now, he volunteers for Gift of Life of Donor Program to spread the word on how the impacts of transplantation can span generations.

“I think after all these years, I’ve finally found my life’s mission and my life’s purpose. There’s a reason I’ve been able to stay around for so long. I’m living testimony to the potential of transplantation,” he says.