Niagara Gazette — “When I first saw him he was a very sick man,” said University of Rochester Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Alexis. “He had lost a lot of weight.”
His defibrillator, there to automatically deliver a therapeutic blast of electricity to the heart and restore a normal heartbeat, activated four times one day.
The following day, a Sunday morning in July, he was informed a donor heart had been located. Surgery, led by Dr. Todd Massey, proceeded that evening.
As is the case in transplantation, Synor only knows his new heart was formerly in someone younger than he. Name, age, male or female, any other circumstances, remain a secret to him. Now it’s on to pursue a life of normalcy.
A graduate of North Tonawanda High School and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Synor’s marketing and graphic design business was put on hold to accommodate this adventure. Moving slowly at home, in a toy-strewn living room and surrounded by his loving family, he sits under a banner reading “Welcome Home Daddy” on the day after he tried driving for the first time in months and tells his story the way a Super Bowl-winning quarterback does, starting with gratitude.
“The staff, the people there (at the University of Rochester Medical Center) are wonderful. It got to be like a fraternity,” he said, mentioning friends he met, including patients Paulette Welker of Tonawanda, who had a heart transplant in August, and Tim Day of Kenmore, who awaits a transplant after a left ventricular assistance device was installed in his chest in June.
“It’s a first-class facility, from the surgeons to the parking lot attendants. You notice it as a visitor,” added Cathie, who when not working as a mommy or caretaker of a heart transplant recipient, is an assistant clerk in Niagara County government.