9 years ago Ryan Brooker started getting light-headed, which turned into something much worse.
"Came down with a virus that attacked my heart," says Brooker of Shelburne.
He was diagnosed with left ventricle heart failure. It's a progressive disease with only one sure cure - a heart transplant. And 4 weeks ago Brooker received a call from Tufts Medical Center at 2:45 in the morning on his mother's birthday.
"She and my dad were awakened to the phone call as well, and I was told they had a heart for me and head to the hospital," says Brooker.
Brooker and his family jumped in the car and headed to Boston. But as they approached Tufts, traffic came to a standstill.
"There's a certain amount of time that the organs are good for while you're making the transfer process. If you miss that window, the organs are wasted and your opportunity too," he says.
While the Brookers were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in the car fearing the worst, Massachusetts State troopers came to the rescue.
"Pretty crazy. Escorting us at high speed through the traffic to get us there in time," says Brooker.
Medical staff at Tufts had called police for help. Within minutes, Brooker was at the hospital and the procedure was underway. The transplant was a success. He says he's recovering, feeling stronger every day, and getting used to his new heart.
"I was able to come back down to Boston and thank the police for their effort and their responsibility. And also to thank Tufts for the miraculous job that they've done," says Brooker. "Taking things one step at a time and listening to what life gives me for direction."
And now Brooker is looking to the future, thanks in part to first responders who he says are life-savers.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-11 23:56:46 GMT
"You know, people say you might not need it, which is true, but this way you get a choice. I don't have to go out tomorrow," said Lorinda Henry of Milton. Henry says she hit the grocery stores TuesdayMore >>
Parts of Vermont could get up to 24 inches of snow in the coming storm. And VTrans officials are warning drivers they may not be able to keep up with the storm rolling in Wednesday.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-03-12 00:02:07 GMT
"Seems like it was just yesterday. Doesn't seem like it's been two years at all," said Glenda Reandeau of Tupper Lake. Residents of Tupper Lake still have their eyes out for Colin Gillis, a now 20-year-oldMore >>
Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, N.Y., disappeared two years ago. And authorities are still searching for him. They say the investigation now focuses on tips from the public and from those who were the last to see Gillis.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:17:43 GMT
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser. Authorities say Officer Adam Lucia was one of two officers responding to an aggravated assault call Monday at TopsMore >>
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-03-11 15:49:17 GMT
A Plattsburgh woman faces charges for allegedly attacking someone with a knife. New York State Police were called to the Best Value Inn on Booth Drive Sunday night for a report of a domestic dispute. InvestigatorsMore >>
A Plattsburgh woman faces charges for allegedly attacking someone with a knife.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-03-11 14:14:46 GMT
A Winooski man says he was held at knife point on Church Street in Burlington Monday afternoon as robbers took nearly 300 dollars from him. Police arrested 29-year-olds Andre Martel and Anthony HammondMore >>
A Winooski man says he was held at knife point on Church Street Monday afternoon as robbers took nearly $300 from him.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-03-11 14:01:29 GMT
A South Londonderry man captured at the end of a high-speed chase now faces up to life in prison. Police say Christopher Bush topped speeds of 100-miles-per-hour in a stolen SUV. The 27 year old pleadedMore >>
A South Londonderry man captured at the end of a high-speed chase now faces up to life in prison.More >>