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.