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.

Comments (9)
  1. get wise on life says:

    great story thank GOD for somthing today

  2. Doug says:

    And if he loses 75 lb. , he may not need another

    1. Michael Yater Jr says:

      it is partially due to the medications, and being laid up, not being able to move for 6 weeks with a bad back, but he has lost 10lbs and he is still trying loae more.

  3. Debbie says:

    The weight can be due to the anti rejection drugs – if not then he does need to slim down still a wonderful generous gift from the donor

  4. Scott says:

    I knew Mr Yater form UMMC…I helped him with his cardiopulmonary exercise studies. Very nice guy. Mr Yater even offered his vacation house to me.

  5. Christin McFarland says:

    @ Doug

    For the type of heart issue that he had it wouldn’t matter how big or how small he is he still would have needed a heart, bless the donar and his family.. This is my Step Father and he is a wonderful person.

  6. William Norvell says:

    Keep up the great work and I pray you have a wonderful long life.

  7. Stef Wrigley says:

    I was blessed to meet Mr Yater @ Longwood Gardens tonight and found him to be so grateful for each day & for the precious gift of life that so many of us take for granted.
    He offered ecouragement for a family member currently awaiting double transplant surgery.
    Blessings to you & your dear family.

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