PHOENIX — Someone alert the Tin Man that he doesn’t need a heart to accomplish great things.
“I kind of looked at the Pat Tillman run as a way to push myself out of my comfort zone,” said Mesa resident Randy Shepherd, who walked the entire 4.2-mile Pat’s Run course on April 26.
And he did it all without a real heart.
After getting severely damaged by rheumatic fever in his teens, doctors at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson were forced to remove his dying heart. In its place, they inserted a SynCardia Total Artificial Heart while they waited for a compatible donor.
“Mentally it’s made me just a little bit stronger and able to handle and recover from the stresses that I’ve gone through and that I have coming up,” he said.
The SynCardia Heart is the “world’s first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart,” the company said in a press release. Reynolds was also the first person without a real heart to compete and finish Pat’s Run.
Shepherd literally couldn’t have done it alone, though. He cannot walk for long distances without the aid of his Freedom portable driver, a 13.5-pound device that “contains all of the electronics that operate the SynCardia Heart.” The heart doesn’t actually require any parts or sensors or electronics to be inserted inside a body in order to function properly.
Shepherd carried the driver in his backpack, while Steve Langford, Director of Clinical Support at SynCardia, walked alongside Shepherd and his wife, Tiffany, with a backup driver.
The trio completed Pat’s Run in one hour and 40 minutes.
“I won’t say I did it for Pat, because I did it for myself,” he said. “But to do it in Pat’s honor, made it that much more special.”
Shepherd, who has always been athletic, hopes he can be an inspiration to others.
“Don’t wait for those things (health problems) to get better,” he said. “Enjoy life. Do what you want to do today.”
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon