Tonawanda News

Local News

May 18, 2013

Town police officer awaiting heart transplant

Tonawanda News — A man who has dedicated his police career to helping residents is now relying on the generosity of others as he waits for a heart transplant at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

Timothy Day, a 17-year veteran of the Town of Tonawanda police, was diagnosed with hypereosinophilic syndrome in October. The autoimmune disease first caused pneumonia, and then began to weaken his heart. 

“It came on unexpectedly and rather suddenly,” he said. “And it was more severe than they initially thought.” 

Timothy has now been hospitalized at Strong for more than two months, waiting for the right heart to come his way. How long he’ll be there isn’t known, but the average wait time varies between three and nine months.

“All the stars have to align first,” he said. “I have to match up to be the perfect recipient.”

Meanwhile, Timothy’s wife, Sherry Brinser-Day, is traveling back and forth to the hospital with their three children — Erin, 8, Clare, 6 and Henry, 4.

“Henry says ‘I want to see Daddy,’ everyday,” Sherry said. “But I can’t drive there everyday.”

The quick diagnosis and hospitalization was rough on the rest of the family, too. 

“We had no time for transition ... it was just so fast,” she said. “We just couldn’t believe something like this could happen.”

But despite all the challenges, the family was able to enjoy a positive moment together last month when Timothy’s daughter, Erin, made her her First Communion at the hospital’s chapel — just so her dad could be there. 

“The fact that she wanted to do it here with me was very touching,” Timothy said. “She knew it was important, and she wanted to do it with me.”

The Days’ local parish, St. Paul’s, helped organize the ceremony, which Sherry said exceeded the family’s expectations. Retired Bishop Matthew Clark presided, a local florist donated decorations for the altar and dozens of singers from the University of Rochester missed their spring fling to sing during the mass.

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