Donor saves Detroit pastor living on artificial heart

- Last November, Pastor Johnnie Alexander made a room at Henry Ford Hospital his home away from home. The retired law enforcement officer turned preacher had heart disease, It was so dire doctors told him his days were numbered.

"I didn't have no doubt. I didn't even think about dying," Alexander said.

An artificial heart gave this minister a chance to extend his life as he waited for a donor heart to become available.

But an artificial heart can only last so long.

Detroit pastor returns to church after receiving artificial heart

"Keep the faith and I thank God I never let go of my faith," the pastor says.

In March, just a few days after getting the artificial heart, Alexander received the news his heart desired. Not only would he receive a donated heart but the same donor would also provide him a kidney to resolve his kidney disease."

"I don't know who the donor was but thank God for him. Not for his loss because you don't want to have somebody to die in order for you to live but I thank God that he filled out his donor card," he said.

Dr. Themis Chamogeorgakis, The Henry Ford surgeon who performed the heart transplant says this surgery adds years to Alexander's life.

"About 10 year survival. So he's back in life he can enjoy life, his family, and do things," Dr. Chamogeorgakis said.

After spending nearly seven months in the hospital, Alexander was released from hospital in early May. So what's next for Pastor Alexander now that he's been released from the hospital and he's back and home? It's back to school to get a doctorate in theology and that's not all

"(There's a) two year program for a physical therapist assistant. I want to give back what others have given me," he said.

As Alexander plans his future he knows it would not be possible without a donor.

"If we can save a life, I think we have done a great job and a great justice to humanity," he said. "If nobody would have donated would have died."

Learn more about becoming a donor by clicking here.

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