Tonawanda News

The Town

August 21, 2013

A NEW DAY

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — A benefit set for Sunday with help a town police officer, Timothy Day, and his family offset the overwhelming costs associated with his wait for a heart transplant. 

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

The disease came on unexpectedly and was more severe than Tim’s doctors initially thought. In April, Day was hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He spent four months waiting for a heart transplant at the hospital, and his wife, Sherry Brinser-Day, and their three young children, Erin, 9, Clare, 6, and Henry, 4, traveled back and forth to see him.

But by late June, Tim’s heart began failing too quickly, and doctors decided to implant a mechanical heart pump. 

“I underwent two surgeries,” he said. “About a week after the first one, an alarm went off, meaning that there was a problem, so they opened me back up.” 

The pump is controlled by a computer, which Tim wears on his waist, and the computer attaches to wires that enter skin on his abdomen. During the day, the pump is powered by batteries, and at night, it is powered by electricity from an outlet.

To his children’s delight, the device has allowed Tim to come home.

“They were just thrilled,” Sherry said.

The kids have also started to help — reminding their dad to bring his “go bag” with extra batteries when he leaves the house, and helping pack away the batteries at night. 

Doctors want Tim to regain his strength with the assistance of the pump for at least a year, but eventually, a heart transplant will be necessary. Tim’s illness — and the wait — has inspired the Day family to become passionate organ donation advocates.

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