Golfer grateful for heart transplant surgery

HOUSTON – Organ recipients at Houston Methodist Hospital joined pro golfer Erik Compton in a ceremonial bell ringing Wednesday.

It's a symbolic call for attention on a topic many people don't think to consider.

“Nobody plans to have a tragedy and we want to be able to educate people on the importance of just talking to their loved ones if they want to become an organ donor,” Compton said.

Compton is a two-time organ recipient. After his first heart transplant in 1992, he went on to the professional level. Now he's here for the Shell Houston Open, on his second heart and giving organ donation a national spotlight.

“I mean, think about me -- I’m just one person that was a result of an organ donor but six other lives were saved because of that donor,” Compton said.

With all the lives saved, the donors and recipients sometimes form an unimaginable bond.

“I had to prove I was worthy of that gift. Every day is a blessing,” one recipient told Compton.

That keeps motivating people in medicine to keep giving the gift of everyday life.

“He highlights what we're able to do in the medical field. Having a 70-year-old person to get back to playing recreational golf is just as important as it is for Eric to play on such a high level,” said Dr. Scott Scheinin, Houston Methodist Hospital transplant surgeon.

“They were healthy their whole life and then boom it's over with. And I’ve been kind of unhealthy my whole life and I’m still living, and I’m here as a result of organ donation,” Compton said.