When the doctor told my mother they had a heart for me, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Confusion was the first because many of the doctors told me I could be waiting for a very long time (it had only been two months!). Many of the friends and people I had met at the Ronald McDonald House had told me the same as well. Then there was shock because, honestly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Also happiness because I knew once I had this surgery, I’d be better and my family wouldn’t have to worry about me so much. And excitement because I wanted to know more and talk to the doctor myself and call my friends and family and tell them all.

I didn’t even wait to hear the rest of the conversation before I ran out of the room to tell my brother and dad. I ran out of the Ronald McDonald House TV lounge and around the corner to our suite before bursting into the room and yelling it to them: “I got the call! I got the call and they have a heart!” Then I ran out to tell the friends I’d met who stayed at the house too. After I had told everyone I ran back to the TV lounge to find out from my mom what was going to happen next and then with my sister, we went to go update my dad and little brother.

The doctors told my mom that we had some time before we would have to started heading to the hospital and they suggested we take the time to relax, shower, call family, etc. But after the initial shock passed over, I started to get worried and freaked out a little. I mean, it’s a NEW HEART! That’s kind of a big deal. I calmed down after taking a relaxing shower and laying down for awhile afterwards. After that, we got the family together before heading down to the hospital.

The actual surgery didn’t happen till the next day because I had to be prepped in advance so, after my mom called our family, everyone came down to the hospital to see me off to surgery. One of our family friends happens to be a photographer she came to take pictures before I went into the OR. Half of the hospital school staff even came to congratulate me and take pictures!

Sometime in the early afternoon, they wheeled me off to surgery and I knew the next time I saw my family again I’d be a brand new person.

My name is Charis "Cj" Sheppard and I'm a 17 year old heart transplant patient. I'm a friendly guy that loves animals, going on adventures and making music!