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Local father, grandfather has much to be thankful for

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Posted at 10:23 PM, Jun 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 08:09:39-04

Many fathers and grandfathers have so much to be thankful for on Father's Day: Their family, children and grandchildren

But one Lafayette man is thankful to still be alive to spend time with his family today, and it's all thanks to his donor and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, LOPA.

Ronnie Platt and his wife told us their story.

Platt is a father of two and grandfather of four. Today, he's healthy and able to watch his family grow, but just nine years ago Platt didn't think he would get that opportunity.

After having a heart attack in 2012, Platt and his wife, Janet, were put into a situation they were not expecting to be in.

"His ejection fraction, which is basically the way his heart pumps, was 27 percent. The average healthy person pumps at 60 percent. When I found out, and googled "life expectancy at 27 percent," it said three years," says Janet Platt.

At that moment, Platt and his wife knew they needed to get aggressive with his health care. Platt spent the next year in and out of the hospital with what he and his wife call "bad luck," but Platt's attitude remained positive.

"Things that could go wrong, went wrong with me, and we just got used to it," Platt said. "Some people get upset, some don't do well with it, but I had the opinion that if it was going to happen, then it was going to happen, and there is not much that I could do about it - so there was no point in being miserable."

Finally Platt and his wife got news that he would need a heart transplant. In 2013, he received a new heart, but he was still sick post-surgery. Platt knew he needed to continue fighting for his five-year-old granddaughter and his wife.

"He looked at me one day and he said, "You're worth fighting for." And I thought, wow. That was the best thing that I heard in my entire life, and I'm so grateful that he told me that," Janet Platt says. "Regardless of what the outcome was, there was no denial of how much we meant to each other."

Another year later, Platt's health started to improve and he was able to witness the birth of a grandson in 2016.

"His PawPaw is sitting right here next to me and had things gone differently, I would have been explaining to this child who he was as a memory, rather than seeing his face," Janet Platt says.

Last year, the Platts welcomed two more grandchildren to the family.

Today, Platt is thankful that he gets this time with his grandchildren, and says he owes this life to his donor.

"My grandkids, I'm sure, would thank them. They don't know what a heart transplant is, and they can't quite grasp that Pawpaw would no be here, so the thanks that we need to give these people just has no end," Platt says. "It's just wonderful."