Tommy Hardiman has always been on the move. Whether running his business, traveling with his wife, or hitting the golf course, he lives an active life. But he didn’t know how truly full his life would be until he met the HeartBrothers.
Tommy, who is in his late 60s, received his heart transplant in the spring of 2023 after being on the transplant list for a long two-and-half years. His heart trouble started years earlier. He began dealing with heart issues in the late ‘90s when doctors diagnosed him with cardiomyopathy. His health deteriorated every year but being an athletic guy, he pushed through it. In July of 2021, he received an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) but still, his health continued to decline.
It was during that time he met the HeartBrothers. Through those tough days, weeks, and months, members of the HeartBrothers supported him by listening and always being there. They understood—like no one else could—what he was going through physically and mentally.
“It’s the whole thing, anything you needed to know. Anytime you needed something, you could reach out. You can see the compassion and passion they have. They are great and I can see the value,” said Tommy.
At the same time, he also met Jay Toland, a fellow in-hospital patient waiting for a heart transplant. Toland has also received his transplant and the duo now support other heart failure patients as Team HeartBrothers Ambassadors. When they recently visited patients at Tufts Medical Center, Tommy could see himself in them. “Visiting those four patients yesterday, it felt so good,” he said. “I feel a bit selfish because it was so fulfilling for me, seeing their reactions. The whole day really brought me up.”
“Jay and I are so grateful, we are in a position where we can and want to give back,” said Tommy. “I really felt the need to do something after my transplant. And I still feel the need to keep supporting these patients now.”
He has also seen how the HeartBrothers have helped patients financially. Since his transplant, Tommy has raised more than $20,000 for the organization. His goal is to raise $30,000, which he has no doubt he will reach in the next few months.
On June 2, 2023, Tommy passed the 17-week mark since his heart transplant. At that point, he was ready to resume working on his golf swing. “I am getting out more and spending more time with my family,” he said. Once he is able to travel again, he and his wife (they have been married for 47 years) plan to head to Europe for a lengthy vacation. Wherever he is or whatever he is doing, the HeartBrothers are never far from his thoughts.
“I am a HeartBrother for life,” said Tommy.