A Donor's Story: Tim

Aug 1, 2021 | Kimberly Schmidt | @kimberlyd

For a mountain biker, the thrill encountered on the trail is a feeling like none other. Tim Von Wald was chasing that feeling when his life changed dramatically, and he had to apply the brakes.

On Sept. 2, 2017, after training on the same route for many days, Tim knew exactly where his heart rate was supposed to be. That day, however, his pulse was at 209 — much higher than usual. After resting for a while, Tim’s heart rate remained elevated. He knew something wasn’t right. "I actually couldn’t distinguish one heart beat from another," Tim says. Despite the sky-high heart rate, Tim felt fine. He decided to head home to have his wife, Lisa, a nurse at Mayo Clinic evaluate him. Lisa took one look at him and said, "Get in the car. We’re going to the ER."

The medical team administered tests to see if Tim had experienced a heart attack and determine the extent of the damage. The results showed that Tim needed triple-bypass heart surgery.

The surgery went well, and Tim successfully recovered. He doesn’t take that outcome for granted. "I do consider every day a gift for we don’t know what the future holds," he says.

A blood donor prior to this incident, Tim says that the biggest disappointment for him is that he is no longer eligible to donate blood due to the medications he needs to take.

"I’d like to thank the nurses, staff and doctors at Mayo for the excellent care," he says. "Thank you for giving me a second chance at life."

How to Donate
For more information about donating blood in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email donateblood@mayo.edu. Or visit our webpage http://www.mayoclinic.org/donateblood.

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