SEATTLE — Thousands of people across the country had their vacations interrupted by airline cancellations. But for one man, a canceled flight to Seattle meant his life-saving surgery was postponed indefinitely.
Patrick Holland wanted to spend Christmas at UW Medical Center in Montlake. The Alaska native, who has been waiting for a transplant list, received a call last Thursday that his new heart was finally available.
As it happened, it took him a while to get from Fairbanks to Seattle.
Mr. Holland said he had booked a flight, but when he went to the airport in Fairbanks, he found that the flight had been cancelled. He explained his situation to an Alaska Airlines agent and revealed that he needed to go to Seattle for his transplant.
He was then put on another flight, which returned to Alaska amid the severe weather that hit Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Holland didn’t make it to Seattle in time, so another person on the transplant list received the heart.
“It’s hard to have a body that wants to run but not a mind that wants to run. It takes a lot away, but in the same way, I believe someone will receive a miraculous gift.” So we just prayed for them.
Holland praised the ground performance of an Alaska Airlines agent who tried to help him catch a plane to Seattle so he could get the transplant he needed.
“Alaska Airlines, they went to great lengths to get me there, but it didn’t happen,” Holland said.
He said the whole idea of needing a transplant and desperately rushing to get a new heart was a burden.
“It was horrible news when I heard I was going to have a transplant. I was scared and excited to be honest,” he recalled.
Holland said on his blog that he chose to remain optimistic. His doctor said the situation was out of his control and he would not be put on a transplant list.
“You have to look on the bright side of things. On the bright side, I was able to go home to my family and have another happy Christmas with them. I feel like I let them down by not being in Seattle.” There’s a big part of me that does that,” he said.
Holland lamented that he should have been more positive about being in Seattle, but he rushed there after receiving word that a heart was available, but unfortunately encountered extreme weather.
He said he plans to be in Seattle by next week. They’re working to find affordable housing. They created a GoFundMe to make that possible.
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