Onetime Child Cancer Patient Clears Heart-Transplant Hurdle

Andy Dahn
August 05, 2019 - 4:33 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Chicago man who has dealt with plenty of health issues in his life says a recent birthday is one he'll never forget.

The trouble for Marc Lestinsky began at the age of nine.

"I had a tumor in my stomach," he said. "A cancerous tumor, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma."

The next 11 months included chemotherapy in his home state of Connecticut, and he said things were back to normal -- until 2014.

Then, doctors told the Bucktown resident that his heart was in danger.

"I said, 'Oh. I didn't realize that. I had no idea, quite frankly.' After going through cancer as a kid, I kind of felt like I was owed one. Like something great was going to happen. It was a shock."

Last week, Lestinsky celebrated his 45th birthday by undergoing a successful heart transplant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

"Extremely grateful, blessed," he said Monday afternoon in a hospital waiting room. "I felt calm because I felt like the doctors here were going to take good care of me. They really have."

Mike Lestinsky is Marc's twin brother.

"Good things should happen to good people, especially in this day and age," he told reporters. "I'm really happy that something good happened to my brother. He would give you his heart if he could, I guarantee that. I couldn't love him more now than I did before. We all got a new lease on life."