GLADSTONE, Ore. (KOIN) — Last year, Mike Hargett became the first person in the country with hemophilia to receive a heart transplant. However, the work on Hargett’s heart took a toll on his kidneys and he now needs a kidney transplant or has to remain on dialysis.
KOIN 6 News recently learned about Hargett’s journey.
Hargett’s health issues started with hemophilia when he was an infant. He later received a hepatitis C diagnosis from blood transfusions and weight gain. Not long after, Hargett found out he needed a new heart, which meant he needed to lose weight. The transplant would also be riskier than normal because of his hemophilia.
Hargett said, “At my heaviest, I was almost 505 pounds. It blows my mind.”
“For the first year, I quit my job and worked out full-time,” he said. “I just started eating less and moving more.”
In the past 2 and 1/2 years, Hargett lost 250 pounds and was treated and cleared of hepatitis C.
Surgeons at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles successfully performed the procedure last year, giving Hargett his unique title in the U.S. Unfortunately, the heart transplant took a toll on his kidneys.
Hargett is determined to find himself a donor as he does not want to remain on dialysis.
“You can be on dialysis for the remainder of your life, but that is not the lifestyle I want at all,” he said.
His car is a rolling billboard with his information and he already has 4 friends being tested to see if they’re a match.
Aimee Adelmann, director of education and outreach at Donate Life Northwest, spoke highly of Hargett.
“His personality, his positivity,” Adelmann said. “He’s been through so much and he’s still incredibly positive and all about educating people around donation.”
Hargett trained at Le Cordon Bleu to be a chef and said he wants to open a heart healthy food truck after this last hurdle is cleared, so he can really start his life.
He said, “I can’t wait to feed people with heart healthy good food that’s going to taste good as well. A win-win. I know it’s going to go over like wildfire.”
Learn more about Hargett and his journey on his GoFundMe page.