Jan 28, 2011 6:00 PM by Jenise Fernandez
Lafayette's donut king, Ricky Meche, celebrates the anniversary of his second chance at life. He received a heart transplant 24 years ago.
"I kept getting weaker and weaker until I was 32 and that was it, I needed a new one," said Meche.
Meche was diagnosed with hereditary cardiomyopathy. His doctor told him his heart would kill him if he didn't get a heart transplant.
"Just getting out of bed was a marathon I was constantly gasping for air," said Meche.
At 32, Meche got a transplant at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston.
"The minute I woke up from surgery, I took a breath and knew that something good just happened," said Meche.
Heart transplant recipients don't usually live longer than ten years-- Meche has already doubled that number.
"Ten percent of the patients live more than 20 years and usually the ones that do, live a long life with the heart functioning," said Dr. Frazier of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston.
The transplant also gave Meche the chance to see his donut shop, Meche's Donut King, become a success.
The family-owned business has been around nearly 30 years. Sometimes you'll see Ricky rolling up some king cakes, but he wants everyone to know one thing.
"My heart disease had nothing to do with the donuts!" said Meche.