ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa, (WTAJ) – What does faith mean to you?
For Dan “Dano” Burkhart it’s everything.
“I believe if you’re waiting for a blessing, the best thing you can do is bless others,” Burkart says, and he’s certainly a guy who lives by his word too.
The Altoona native has been waiting for a kidney donor for the last 2-plus years. While waiting, Dano decided to go down to the local grocery store and help others out, by paying for people’s groceries. But what happened next is the real miracle. The day Dano posted the video of him helping others, he got a phone call.
“Here it was the surgeon that called me, and I just couldn’t believe it. Like this is unbelievable that the day I post the video, the day we get the call!”
Dano was getting his kidney. He’d get the surgery on September 11. There was still, however one more obstacle still to overcome.
“The original surgeon couldn’t find the right vessels to connect it to get it the right blood flow,” Burkhart said. It just so happens the chief of staff for all abdominal transplant surgery at UPMC in Pittsburgh was there in the hospital that night, and the surgeon was able to call him. He was able to come in and scrub in to the OR and was able to put in the new organ. ”
Dano’s surgery was complete after almost 9 hours.
“We just knew it was gonna be a bit of struggle to get this transplant done,” said Dr. Amit Tevar, Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at UPMC. “I can’t emphasize this enough, he’s just a great guy.
Through Dano’s faith, it’s allowed him to never give up. He’d tell you this transplant has given him his life back. He will still make regular trips to UPMC in Pittsburgh in the coming months. However he says he’s 100% healthy and feeling good.