WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Days after marrying his high school sweetheart, a 23-year old man who underwent two heart transplants passed away in his home surrounded by loved ones.
- Diagnosed with a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in seventh grade, Javier Rodriguez underwent two heart transplants during his teens but was no longer qualified for a third.
- DCM is a birth defect that lessens the heart’s blood pumping capacity due to a weakened left ventricle.
A 23-year-old heart transplant patient died just days after exchanging wedding vows with his high school sweetheart before family and hospital staff at the University of Chicago Medical Center chapel.
When he was in seventh grade, Javier Rodriguez was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a condition where the heart’s ability to pump blood is reduced because the left ventricle which is the heart’s main pumping chamber is enlarged and weakened.
Known as Javi to his family and friends, he received two heart transplants, one when he was 14 years old and another at 18. Too bad, he was not qualified to undergo a third heart transplant due to complications from infections and kidney dysfunction.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez’s new bride, Crystal Cuevas-Rodriguez, said that he passed away on Monday in his best friend’s arms surrounded by loved ones.
“Javi was a fighter, and he fought till his very last breath. He died beautifully, with so much grace,” she said.
Cuevas-Rodriguez said she and Javi met when they were in junior high school. The couple married on Nov. 27 after Rodriguez decided to live out his last days at home in hospice care.
She also shared that Javi would do anything for his loved ones, especially Leia, their daughter, who was born earlier this year.
“Even if he was struggling, in pain or frustrated with life, he put his daughter first,” Cuevas-Rodriguez said. “It meant the world to me that he gave everything he had to be the best father he could be.”
A GoFundMe launched by Javi’s family has already raised over $33,000 to help pay for funeral expenses. The fundraiser writes: “In our time of need, we ask for whatever help anyone can give so we can make the preparations for Javi’s departure.”