Bennett Gulyas

Bennett Gulyas

 Heart Recipient

Bennett was seven years old when he received his heart transplant, and his family Is forever grateful for his second chance at life. His mother Lindsay who has a newfound appreciation for donation says, “When I leave this earth, I want to make an impact, and organ donation is that.”  

My son Bennett was born in 2016 with heart defects, facing the daunting challenges of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, leaving the left side of his heart underdeveloped. His early years were marked by three heart surgeries and a fourth at four. 

Despite his courageous spirit, Bennett’s health took a turn for the worse. Heart failure symptoms declining oxygen saturation, all of which signaled the urgent necessity of a transplant for him to survive. The news was devastating, and the waiting period was filled with anxiety and anticipation. 

In November 2022, Bennett’s journey toward a new heart began. After getting a heart catheter Bennett needed a PICC line for IV infusions. While waiting for his heart he formed bonds with other children at MUSC who were also on the transplant list. The friendship of these brave boys made the hospital stay more bearable for Bennett. In December, he was listed as status 1B, reserved for very sick patients under 18. 

We received the call on August 1st, 2023, and Bennett received his new heart in the early hours of August 2nd.  There was a match for Bennett. The transplant was a rollercoaster of emotions, but the overwhelming feeling afterward is indescribable gratitude. The donor family and hospital teams provided my child with a chance to live, giving our family hope. 

Being an advocate for organ donation, I’ve always recognized its significance. It’s the gift of life through the selfless act of another family. This experience has deepened my commitment to encourage others to become donors, as it truly is a matter of life and death. 

Bennett’s recovery was a testament to the strength of our support network – our family, the dedicated nurses at MUSC and our friends. His post-transplant journey had its challenges, including a brief setback with his kidneys, but his unwavering positive attitude and resilience shone through. Today, Bennett is thriving in the first grade through virtual school, embracing his love for music, dreaming of becoming a police officer and loving every moment of Hot Wheels, cars, video games and dreams of joining a rock band. 

 As a family, we are immensely proud of Bennett’s journey and his new lease on life. I share our story with the hope that it inspires others facing similar challenges to find strength, support, and the unwavering belief that, no matter how difficult the road is, there is always hope.