It has been a 17-month wait for Bryson Williams and his family, but the 21-year-old Goleta man finally received a call Tuesday that he would be getting a new heart.
Williams, who has a heart condition called cardiomyopathy, has successfully received the transplant and is responding well, his mother, Debbie Williams, told Noozhawk on Thursday, adding that her son had already had his breathing tube removed and was preparing to sit up in a chair.
“We got our wish,” she said. “He is doing amazing, and the doctors are just in awe of him.”
Williams’ condition meant that his heart didn’t pump enough blood, and he had a device, called a left ventricle assist device, or LVAD, implanted 17 months ago. When the pump was first put in, Williams’ heart was operating at only 10 percent. It gradually recovered after the pump was installed, and doctors thought he would be able to survive its removal.
But during surgery last summer, doctors tried to remove the pump from one side of his heart and discovered the other side didn’t respond well. The only option left was a transplant, and it took months to find a heart that would work.
In the meantime, Debbie Williams established a Facebook group called “Bryson’s heart journey” and has been updating about 50 followers of the group with news. Two weeks ago, she wrote, “Thinking of a heart everyday, praying every minute” to followers. On Tuesday, it was clear that wait was over: “We got ‘THE CALL’ and we have a HEART!” she wrote.
That heart, they would eventually learn, was from a 17-year-old boy from the Los Angeles area.
“We are so thankful to his donor family for this precious gift of life,” Debbie Williams said Thursday.
She said her son can’t wait to swim, skateboard and surf. He even mentioned wanting to get a tattoo, to which doctors gave a firm no because of risk of infection.
When Noozhawk talked with Williams last October, he was excited about the surgery, and also a bit impatient.
“I would like to not wait,” he said, adding that he was excited to get back to the life most young adults take for granted.
The family will be in Los Angeles for the next five weeks, and anyone who wants to donate to the family’s living expenses can do so at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.
Meanwhile, Williams will continue to heal and start to face his new life ahead.
“The pain he feels is enormous,” his mom said, “but he is pushing through like a champ.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.