Fort Wayne man celebrates ten years since heart surgery

Jeffery Fisher

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Ten years ago, Jeffery Fisher had life-saving heart surgery thanks to Larry King. Now, a decade later, he’s grateful for all the moments he didn’t miss.

“I tell myself every morning I got another day, another chance to live,” Fisher said. “If my life would have ended in 2007, I would not have seen my children graduate high school or my daughter graduate college or watch her get married. I get to hold my grandson and take my kids to dinner and wake up on Christmas morning with my kids. Someone very nice a few years ago took care of that and made sure I could keep doing that.”

Fisher was born with a malformed aortic valve. He had an artificial valve put in when he was 18 and that lasted for 24 years. But in 2007, he needed a new one and didn’t have health insurance to pay for the surgery. His sister found the Larry Kind Cardiac Foundation, which paid for heart procedures for uninsured patients. They applied and Fisher was accepted.

Watch NewsChannel 15’s 2007 story here: 

Fisher had a successful surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on June 26, 2007. In 2008, Fisher was a guest speaker at the foundation’s gala. He was an honored guest at the galas in 2011 and 2012 too.

Jeffery Fisher with Larry King

“These are people who are alive who might not have been,” Larry King told NewsChannel 15 in 2007 interview.

In the decade since his surgery, Fisher’s changed jobs from a construction worker to the head of maintenance at a local hotel

“I’m in charge of a big old building and get to fix stuff every day. I love it,” he said.

When Fisher had his 2007 surgery, the artificial valves the doctors had didn’t fit. He was already on the operating table when they realized he would need a human donor valve instead.

“It was by a miracle that a guy my age had died at the Cleveland Clinic a few hours before and he was a donor and they got his valve out and my surgeon said as soon as they put it in, it was a perfect fit. My surgery had been postponed five days too. Someone upstairs was saying you can wait a few more days,” Fisher said.

Now he lives his life by his favorite Bible verse.

‘It’s Psalm 25. ‘Lord my life is in Your hands. My God, I trust in You. Every good thing I have comes from You.’ I pretty much have that in my head all the time,” he said.

Fisher will need another surgery in a few years. Human donor valves last 12 to 15 years. He said his doctors say he’s still doing great and this time he has insurance to cover the surgery costs. But, until then, he’s thankful for each day.

“I’m still alive and that’s the best gift of all,” he said.