Geneva man awaiting 16th heart surgery calls for blood donations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- At the age of only 26, a west suburban Geneva man has already undergone 15 open heart surgeries. Surgery number 16 could come next year and your donations can help make it a success.

"Blood transfusions are very important. I mean, a pint saves three lives and I'm one of those lives. And with a possible up and coming heart transplant I'm going to need more. I mean definitely I appreciate everyone that donates," said Kevin Warfel. At just 5 days old, he was diagnosed with a heart condition.

"What my doctor told me it was is a transposition of the great pulmonary artery. So you know how you have four chambers in the heart. I have one working one, so basically they use one of my arteries as a pumping chamber to just keep oxygen flowing throughout the whole entire body," Warfel said.

Right now, it's a waiting game. Waiting to get on the transplant list, and then waiting for a heart.

"It looks like it's going to be a long drawn out process. With a lot of medical bills and stuff before I actually get out on a list. I thought it was going to be a quick thing like, ok, yeah this is what's going on, you're on the list. I was very wrong," he said.
In spite of it all, Kevin remains optimistic. He now spends his time giving back to an organization near and dear to his heart.

"Volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I just got involved in that because I had a wish granted. So I mean anything to give back. I mean that organization means a lot, so I think of as paying it forward and giving back at the same time," he said.

Kevin and many others like him need your help. The ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive is coming up on Jan. 9, but now is the time to register.

The drive will be held at a new location downtown - at the Hyatt Regency. The second location is once again in the southwest suburbs at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel.

Make an appointment for the blood drive right now by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
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