August 10, 2022

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A coronary heart named ‘Tank’ saves lifetime of superintendent in O’Fallon, Illinois

O’FALLON, Unwell. — A college superintendent within the Metro East stated she owes her life to a brand new pal that she calls “Tank.”

It’s been11 months since Darcy Benway, the Superintendent of O’Fallon Township Excessive College District 203, underwent coronary heart transplant surgical procedure.

“After I was transplanted, I made a vow that I used to be going to recollect my donor,” she stated. “So, I named my coronary heart ‘Tank.’ It appeared like we had simply been by means of a conflict collectively. Tank appeared applicable.”

Benway, 57, has been a superintendent in O’Fallon for 15 years — however her 14th yr was almost her final.

Final spring, the wholesome and match mom of two and former collegiate champion swimmer on the College of Kansas was working from a Barnes-Jewish Hospital mattress, linked to a machine working within the place of her dying coronary heart.

Dr. Joel Schilling, the medical director of Washington College and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Heart’s coronary heart program, put her on the transplant record after drugs did not right a uncommon, lethal type of coronary heart irritation known as Large Cell Myocarditis.

“She was in a position to get her coronary heart inside three days of itemizing, which was vital as a result of she was on a really non permanent assist system, which doesn’t final however every week or two at most to maintain somebody alive,” Schilling stated.

After the six-hour surgical procedure, the medical group gave Benway a read-out of Tank beating within her. They let her hear by means of a stethoscope.

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“It was,” Dr. Benway stated, pausing to carry again tears, “in all probability the perfect sound I ever heard in my life at that time.”

The Washington College and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Heart’s coronary heart program is the one coronary heart transplant middle within the St. Louis area and considered one of nation’s busiest.

“To see of us come from as near demise as you possibly can probably be after which six months later, they’re dwelling a traditional life. That’s fairly wonderful to witness. It’s a part of the blessing of attending to do what I do,” Schilling stated.

The medical group performs 40-50 coronary heart transplants and sustains life in one other 50 plus coronary heart sufferers by means of the usage of mechanical units yearly, Schilling stated.

Benway, who grew up in Edwardsville, is now coaching to renew 5K runs and planning for her son’s marriage ceremony this summer season because of Tank.

“’Tank and I now do the whole lot collectively,” she smiled. “I’d not be sitting right here speaking to you as we speak if it weren’t for Tank. I wouldn’t be right here.”

Benway known as the Washington College and Barnes-Jewish medical group her “angels.”

“When she informed me that was the identify all I might do was smile,” Schilling stated. “I stated that’s an excellent identify for this coronary heart. Let’s maintain Tank going nicely into the longer term.”

Benway known as her donor her hero.

“I do know that individual was a separate and distinct particular person from who I’m, who’s now part of me,” Benway stated. “They’re heroes. They’re the miracles that make like occur for thus many individuals. We want extra folks to be organ donors. There’s lots of people ready.”

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She has no details about the donor. She granted an interview to FOX 2 Information on one situation: that we share organ donor web sites to encourage extra folks to offer the present of life.

To turn out to be an organ donor or just get extra data, go to: or

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