KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man from Columbia, Missouri, got a new heart in the Kansas City metro.

This marks a second chance at life for 53-year-old father Jon Harding and 1,000 heart transplants for St. Luke’s Hospital. 

“It’s almost been a miracle,” Harding said.

In January, Harding had a heart attack. 

“I was in bed for the evening, and I went to move,” Harding said. “And didn’t really have any of the classic symptoms or signs. No chest pains, no running down the arms.”

A cramp down the side of his neck would not go away, he said. An ambulance took him to a hospital that eventually connected him with St. Luke’s.

Dr. Brett said there was a lot of damage done to Harding’s heart. 

“He was at risk for recurrent hospitalizations and not surviving very long,” Sperry said. “He was on a continuous infusion of a medication that when we think when people’s hearts are that sick, that they really only have about six months or so.”

 Sperry was on Harding’s transplant team at St. Luke’s. Harding went through rigorous testing and was placed on the transplant list. 

Just ten days later, the phone rang at 3 a.m.

“I expected to be waiting a considerably longer period of time than we did,” Harding said. “So, it was a complete surprise.”

He received a new heart, becoming the 1,000th heart transplant patient at St. Luke’s Hospital. St. Luke’s is only the 23rd hospital in the country to reach this milestone. 

“It allows them to have a new lease on life to see their family again, see their kids, see their grandkids grow up,” Sperry said. “It really is an unbelievable thing.”

Harding said he had no previous heart conditions and now encourages others to take care of themselves and eat healthy. 

He’s grateful to be alive. 

“My sons and my wife mean the world to me,” Harding said. “I get to keep on with that. That’s a big deal.”

Harding’s spending his son’s 23rd birthday in the hospital recovering, but he’s happy there are many more celebrations in site. 

He said St. Luke’s helped get him back on his feet. 

“They got me through the rough part,” Harding said. “Let’s go. I’m ready to go.”

Harding hopes to one day meet the family of his donor. He also encourages others to become organ donors, possibly saving a life like his.