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Aurora Heart Transplant Patient Walking to D.C., Hopes to Create a Transplant Memorial

photo of Gene Shimandle
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
Gene Shimandle from Aurora plans to arrive in Washington, D.C., on May 8 -- one year to the day after receiving a heart transplant from 20-year-old Cody Stebel.

A Northeast Ohio heart-transplant patient will be arriving in Washington, D.C. tomorrow after walking for the past month from his home in Aurora. And he’s there to try and bring some recognition for transplant donors and recipients.

Gene Shimandle had to wait 12 years for a new heart, but he finally got one last May. He’s honoring his donor – 20-year-old Cody Stebel – by walking hundreds of miles to meet with Ohio’s senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown.

Shimandle says he wants the government to create a monument to organ donation.

“I picture a forest with donors’ names on the trunks of the trees. And the branches of the recipients who have been blessed by their gift.”

Shimandle says he’s also requested a meeting with President Trump.