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Heart transplant patient going strong 16 years later

Despite two failed transplant attempts and several touch-and-go moments, Gloucester resident Will Garriss is living a fulfilling life more than a decade after undergoing major surgery for a new heart.

Garriss’s journey began in late 1992 with a seemingly-benign head cold. However, the diagnosis eventually turned much worse.

“I went to the doctor,” Garriss said. “He told me I had bronchitis.” He was prescribed a series of antibiotics, but after a period of time, the shortness of breath he was experiencing wasn’t getting any better. “I went back. They did an EKG (electrocardiogram) and the doctor said he thought I had a problem with my heart.”

The diagnosis eventually came back as cardiomyopathy, which is considered terminal, though Garriss didn’t know that at the time.

Things went along rather routinely until March 26, 1998. That day, Garriss was on his way to his job with the telephone company when he began experiencing extrem...

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