Heart Transplant Recipient Shows His Strength By Throwing Out First Pitch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore County man is celebrating his life, a year after receiving a heart transplant in the middle of last year’s blizzards.

Kai Jackson was there when he made a very important pitch.

Michael Yater winds up, releases the ball and throws the perfect first pitch at Oriole Park.

Yater, who’s from Essex, is a transplant recipient.  Inside his chest is the heart of David deSabla, the son of Diane DeHaven.

“It was hard for me to realize that somebody had to pass away for me to be able to live,” said Yater, transplant recipient.

DeSabla, an organ donor, died in a skiing accident in Western Maryland in February 2010.

Yater was critically ill after suffering from cardiomyopathy, deterioration of the heart muscle.

Neighbors and several snow plow helped him battle through blizzard-bound streets to the hospital for surgery when deSabla’s heart became available.

“He was able to receive a heart of someone to keep them alive. And it’s not necessarily my son,” said DeHaven.

April is “Donate Life Month” in Maryland, encouraging organ donation.

Yater and DeHaven were asked to be part of the ceremonial first pitch at the Orioles/Detroit game on Thursday.

“If he would have never checked that block on his license to become a donor, I might not be here,” said Yater.

David deSabla was 29 when he died. Yater is now 53 and is feeling fine.  There is some sad news, though. Yater’s 23-year-old son in Ohio has been diagnosed with the same heart disease as his father.

More than 2,000 people are on the critical donor waiting list in Maryland.


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