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Central Texas heart transplant recipient trains for Transplant Games of America

Posted at 10:30 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 20:39:36-05

TEMPLE, TEXAS — As retired military and as a father of three, Demetrius Blalock has always led an active lifestyle.

"Running cross country in the seventh grade [and] high school, then running track and field 7th grade [and] high school, then, therefore, I took that from running to the military," said Blalock.

He even tried out for the Olympics.

"I went and decided to try out for the Olympics in '93 in Fort Carson. Missed it. No problem. just to have the opportunity to do it," said Blalock.

Years later, his health eventually began to break down.

"In 2009, on leave, I started working overseas in Iraq. Then I noticed that I had like a flu or a cold. They gave me some medicine. Then I noticed that at that time about two or three weeks later started to slow down, couldn't walk," said Blalock.

"His heart went from being able to push out anywhere from seven to eight liters of blood per minute down to around two to three liters of blood per minute," explained Albert J. Hicks III, MD, MPH, interim medical director of Baylor Scott & White Temple's Advanced Heart Failure Mechanical Circulatory Support & Cardiac Transplantation.

Blalock received a pacemaker, as wells as a left ventricular assist device before ultimately receiving a new heart.

"August 2016, got the call for having a heart transplant," said Blalock.

Last summer, he finally got a taste of his dream when he competed in the Transplant Games of America in Utah.

"We have Transplant Fames that consist of you know everybody with heart transplant, kidneys, lungs and everything else we get together," said Blalock.

Now, Blalock is training for the 2020 Transplant Games of America in New Jersey.

"To experience not only heart failure despite doing all the right things but then to receive a heart transplant and be able to regain much of his function is a true credit to the science and a true credit to his spirit," said Hicks.

Blalock's message to others was to keep moving.

"Doing something in your life. Making something positive about yourself," said Blalock.

Blalock also hopes to compete in the 2021 World Transplant Games in Houston.