Two families united by one heart. An Ohio man who received a heart transplant at the Cleveland Clinic made a special to Iowa to say thank you to the family of the donor.
Ken Vogelson, 45, of Defiance, spent eight years fighting a progressive heart disease, which had already claimed the life of his brother. His doctors said he received the new organ just in time.
After his transplant surgery in January, Vogelson exchanged letters with the donor’s mother, Lisa Bragg.
“I owed her a big thank you and told her the sympathy we had for her loss. It was tough knowing that somebody had to lose in order for me to gain,” Vogelson said.
Bragg’s son, Markus, died unexpectedly on Jan. 19. He was 27 years old.
“He wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s just how he was. He would give his last to anybody. He would go out of his way to help anybody. This is what he would want, to help others. That’s who he was,” Bragg said.
Vogelson and Bragg met on Friday in the presence of the paramedics, who tried to save Markus.
According to Lifebanc, Vogelsong is one of nearly 1,170 Ohioans whose life was saved by organ donation in 2018. There are more than 3,000 people still waiting for an organ.
This year, 118 people died waiting for an organ.