Heart transplant recipient runs first race while donor's father cheers from the sidelines

Elise Solé
A heart transplant recipient ran a celebratory race while his donor’s father cheered him on. (Photo: CTV News)

A heart transplant recipient ran a 10K race over the weekend, while the donor’s father watched proudly in the crowd.

According to a story published Sunday by CTV News, John Dickhout ran his first 10K race in Ontario, Canada, since experiencing a heart attack several years ago. He was able to receive a heart transplant after 22-year-old Adam Prashaw of Ontario died from a seizure.

Recently, Dickhout decided to run a race near Adam’s hometown, according to the news outlet, because, “I wanted to let my donor family know how much this gift meant to me and my family.”

Adam Prashaw, 22, died of a seizure two years ago and his father keeps in touch with the recipient of his donated heart. (Photo: CTV News)

Adam’s father Rick came to cheer Dickhout on. “It was just like watching my kid in a hockey game,” the dad told the station.

When reached by Yahoo Lifestyle, Dickhout was not available for comment and Rick did not return a request for comment; however, the two men have stayed in touch. In 2016, Ottawa Citizen reported that Adam, who was born a girl named Rebecca, was transitioning at the time of death. He was born with epilepsy and underwent a series of brain surgeries to help ease his symptoms. “Adam was judged his whole life, to some extent,” his mother Suzanne told Ottawa Citizen. “He has a very complicated story.”

The young man didn’t survive his final seizure two years ago, which occurred while Adam was in a hot tub in his apartment.

Rick Prashaw listens to the heart of his late son Adam that was transferred to heart-attack survivor John Dickhout. (Photo: CTV News)

After Dickhout received his new heart, he penned a letter to Adam’s parents and Rick welcomed the idea of meeting his son’s donor recipient. At their union, Rick listened to Dickhout’s beating heart through a stethoscope. “There were tears,” he told Ottawa Citizen. “My boy was somehow alive, you know?”

According to CTV News, at the race, Dickhout said, “The man I am today is not a fraction of the man I will become in honor of your loved one.”

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