Colby Salerno doesn't feel his "story is more important than anyone else's" he writes on his Tales from the 10th Floor blog. But he's thrilled about his own role in increasing awareness about organ donations in Connecticut. The 24-year-old has spent the last 3 months in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. Salerno has been living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy for half of his young life. The condition causes the heart muscle to thicken, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. A heart transplant is Salerno's best chance at life, and 3 months of hospital living haven't soured him on his dream to go to medical school and become a cardiologist.
Besides having his story spotlighted for organ donation education, more than 5,600 people have rallied in support of Salerno on facebook on the Have a Heart for Colby page. The local Fox station in Hartford featured Salerno's blog, Tales for the Tenth Floor, and the $5,000 donation pledge that came from the Eric De La Cruz Hope for Hearts Foundation for financial assistance to the Salerno family. The money was raised through the recent Raise a Glass wine mixer and benefit.
Veronica De La Cruz is an NBC/MSNBC anchor. She founded Hope for Hearts after the death of her younger brother, Eric, who suffered from severe dilated cardiomyopathy and was denied insurance coverage due to his pre-existing condition. Veronica worked diligently and feverishly through social media and raised funds for her brother's heart transplant, but Eric De La Cruz passed away on July 4, 2009 before the surgery could happen. She's made it her mission since to help other heart transplant patients like Colby Salerno navigate the exhausting process.
With humor and infinite patience, Salerno regularly shares his life now on his tumblr blog. You can send your good will his way with greeting cards mailed to: Hartford Hospital 80 Seymour St., Bliss 10-I, Room 6, Hartford, CT 06102
And a fund established for Colby's cause accepts donations:
The Colby Heart Transplant Fund
P.O. Box 225
Cheshire, CT 06410-0225