Warren Cornil's Story
Warren Cornil may be 62-years-old, but he feels closer to 46. Warren underwent a heart transplant at Medical City in January 2005. After suffering from atrial defibrillation and congestive heart failure, and undergoing seven surgeries, he was on the waiting list for 82 days when the call came.
"Every time the phone would ring, I would tell my wife there's my heart. She'd say it isn't," Warren said. He was watching the NBA finals one April evening at 5:10 when his wife got the call he was getting his heart. "I told you."
Most patients aren't happy to keep returning to the hospital, but Warren recalls celebrating every time he came back. "I remember my seventh pacemaker— four or five of the doctors were in there— and I said you can't kill me. You see I'm going to come back again and again and again. I'm going to get a heart."
Warren knows without his positive attitude and Medical City's excellent transplant program, he wouldn't have survived.
"They care about your personally. For instance during my surgery, I was apparently having a tough time. There was a point where they had to come out to prepare my wife for my demise. The doctor had tears in his eyes when he was telling her," he said. "It was meaningful to her that it wasn't a clinical situation going on. It impressed her. The doctors saved my life and the nurses made me well."
Warren went from not being able to do anything physical to spending a lot of time on his ranch with his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren. He jokingly likes to refer to himself as Superman. With his new heart, he's determined to help save other people's lives.
"I don't know how people go through something so amazing and just shrug it off and go on with their lives," he explained. "I'm consumed by the desire to give some of that back."
Warren is on the board of The Living Gift, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping transplant patients, and he jumps on the opportunity to talk to any patient who just needs some support.
Warren also keeps a photo of his donor, Jason, on his credenza as a reminder organ donation is one of the most magnanimous random acts of kindness someone can give. Jason was just shy of his 26th birthday when he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of his own. His mother made the decision to donate his organs. Warren had the opportunity to thank her in January 2009 —an emotional conversation as many can imagine— and they still stay in touch.
"Our heart is 31 today. Physically I'm 62, but I'm 46 and a half."