Rick Ganem's heart transplant

My father, Rick Ganem is my best friend. He is a beloved grandfather, friend and soul mate, best friend, husband to my amazing mother, Peggy. They have been married for 37 years.  At the age of thirty six, while volunteering in the  Iowa floods of 1993 , he contracted a virus that went directly to his heart. After a near fatal misdiagnosis my father has battled congestive heart failure ever since.  With my mother relentlessly by his side, my father has gracefully and courageously battled heart failure, stage three cancer and survived. He has never given up even in the darkest hours when he had a feeding tube, couldn't speak and was emaciated physically and emotionally because of radiation and chemotherapy. When doctor's told my father he would never be able to move his right arm again due to surgery from cancer, my father said, "yes, I will".  Due to daily working out which has vigoursly  involved daily riding an excercise bike; the wheel; push ups and situps, he regained full movement of his arm. During moments of my life when I have had my own struggles, it has always been my father who has lifted me up, even with all he has battled on a daily basis.  During all of this, my parents have struggled financially as my father's business was unable to survive with my father not able to work.  As a result my mother has been the breadwinner. She has never ever complained, often working two jobs while my father's pride has sunk.  For years and year my father always believed and hoped a miracle would occur, he has never given up hope and neither has my mother. Unfortunatly, his heart is now failing more and more each day. As a result, my father is now hospitalized indefinatly until he can recieve a new heart. My mother will not leave my father's side. They are out of state recieving excellent care which we are extremly grateful for. My mother however will not be paid for the time in which she is gone supporting and caring for my father. Their hospital stay could be months and the recovery long. We have no idea when he will get a new heart, but he is indeed a priorty and we hope and pray it will be as soon as possible. As a family we pray for the beautiful soul who will be gifting my father with extended life, we will be eternally grateful. My father is a story teller, a poet, a writer and just hilarious. I believe his continued presence on this Earth will impart much needed optimism for many people as he is truly the most inspirational person I know. He has dreams of coaching soccer again as he did for many, many years. He has dreams of watching his grandchildren grow up, mentor them, coach them in sports and cheer them on through life. He has dreams of growing old with my mother and returning to the ocean where we he grew up and where we were all born in Maine. His dreams are really quite simply, they are to live, to be healthy and to be apart of his family's lives. Each day my day and my siblings days are not complete without speaking to my father. Daily, no matter what battle he is figting he imparts his daily wisdom to us, helping us as we each uniquely embrace his wisdom of the day. I and my family would be deeply humbled to gain your support during this critical time in our family. Thank you.
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Lucy Ganem Stam
Des Moines, IA

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