LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– According to the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, one organ donor can save up to eight lives. Thanks to LOPA, an Acadiana native has a second chance at life.

Ryan Gallet, 48, had a massive heart attack in 2004 due to 100% blockage. Doctors placed a stint in his heart, but three years later, Gallet learned his heart only had 10% function due to the attack. He was also diagnosed with Sudden Cardiac Heart Death, which causes the heart rate to rise.

In response to the diagnosis, Gallet was prescribed medication. He says the medication worked for a while, but in May of 2021, his pace maker gave an alarm.

“I wasn’t expecting it because I was in fairly good shape for being only 10% heart function,” he said.

Gallet was placed on a transplant list. He and his family waited for 9 weeks, hoping for good news. Then it came: Gallet would be receiving a new heart in 24 hours.

Although his Gallet and his family were happy to be on a healthy path, a new wait began. Gallet stayed in the hospital for a year after the transplant with a visitors only status. After months of separation and recovery, Gallet says he is now more intentional about how he spends his days.

“I didn’t get a new heart to sit on the sofa. I got a new heart so I can live my life.”

Living his life includes spending time with his family. Gallet said anything he wants to do, he does with the people he loves.

“I was a family man before, but I’m even more so now because what they have done for me. I’m only going to give back to them.”

His two daughters and wife also shared the indescribable feeling of having their father and husband back. They are grateful for his second chance at life.

Ryan says he now wants to be a spokesperson for organ donation. He also would like to thank LOPA, his family and friends and all of the doctors and medical staff who helped him throughout his journey.