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High School Student Holds Blood Drive in Honor of Heart Donation That Saved His Life

This is the fifth year 17-year-old Kevin Murphy and his family are hosting a "Pay it Forward" blood drive. Those interested in donating blood can stop by 209 Hat Creek Court in San Ramon on Feb. 22 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

SAN RAMON, Ca: Cal High junior Kevin Murphy, 17, is thankful for his second chance at life thanks to his heart. Photo provided by Dianna Murphy
SAN RAMON, Ca: Cal High junior Kevin Murphy, 17, is thankful for his second chance at life thanks to his heart. Photo provided by Dianna Murphy
By AUTUMN JOHNSON

A San Ramon high school student and his family are hosting a "Pay it Forward" blood drive this Saturday in honor of the heart donation he received in 2009 that saved his life. 

It Seemed Like Just The Flu 

Kevin Murphy was just 12-years-old when several trips to the pediatrician's office for what appeared to be a flu bug revealed that Murphy's organs were failing due to a bad heart.

According to Dianna Murphy, her son was diagnosed with Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy in Jan. of 2009. The cause of the condition is not known. 

"We were told Kevin needed a heart on Feb. 4, 2009," Dianna said. "16 days later he received one. Although it felt like an eternity it was truly such a short amount of time to wait."

Diana says her son did not know he had gotten a new heart until after the surgery had been completed.

Kevin is very grateful to have another chance at life. He understands the price that was paid. He didn't know he was getting a new heart until a week after his surgery. He was in a medically induced coma prior to the surgery due to how ill he was. About a week after surgery we told him what happened and he cried. Not because he got a new heart but because someone died for him. We told him it wasn't his fault. Let me tell you there was not a dry eye in the room... Although we don't know the circumstances surrounding the donor's death we told Kevin there may have been an accident...  we told Kevin that the donor's family loved their son so much they wanted to share him with others. 

After a five-and-a-half hour surgery and an intense recovery process, Murphy is now a healthy 17-year-old junior at California High School in San Ramon.


Saying Thank You By Paying it Forward

The Murphy family has since reached out to the heart donor family by letter and honors their life-giving donation each year with a community blood drive.

"As a mother I have dreamt of one day meeting the family so I can give them a hug and tell them personally what their precious gift has meant to not only Kevin and our family but our friends and extended family as well," Dianna said. "I want to tell them that every year on Kevin's 'heart anniversary' we hold a blood drive called "Pay It Forward" in honor of their son and them." 

Dianna plans to write the family again after the blood drive to share how many units of blood have been collected in honor of their son.

To donate blood to the Pay it Forward Blood Drive hosted by the Stanford Blood Center an the Murphy family, stop by 209 Hat Creek Court in San Ramon on Feb. 22 between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are strongly encouraged.

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