under the covers

From the Dept. of Deeply Heartwarming Stuff

Poet Dean Young has undergone a heart transplant

By Amy Smith, 7:14PM, Fri. Apr. 15, 2011

Dean Young at his home in early March
Dean Young at his home in early March
photo by Jana Birchum

Dean Young has a new heart. The renowned poet and popular teacher in the University of Texas' Michener Center for Writers underwent a heart transplant Thursday night, April 14, at Seton Medical Center.

The next morning, doctors emerged from surgery about 6:45 and told Dean's wife, Laurie Saurborn, and a cadre of friends that the "heart was beating and [the transplant] was a success," said friend Roger Reeves, who was among the group gathered at the hospital. The heart came from a 22-year-old man from Oklahoma, Reeves said.

The good news from doctors arrived just one week after a reading and fundraiser for Young held at Austin Museum of Art, which drew an overflow crowd that spilled out into the lobby. "We had anticipated 80 to 100 people, and I think the final count was 256," Reeves said. The costs associated with transplants and post-surgery care far outweigh even the best insurance plans, so fundraising efforts continue on Young's behalf. Donations may be made at www.transplants.org/donate/deanyoung. Also, a new state registry (www.donatelifetexas.org) has been established for Texans who wish to register to be organ donors to help save lives like Dean Young. For more on Young's long wait for a new heart, see our April 8 cover story, "If I can Stop One Heart From Breaking."

And there's still more heartening news on the transplant front: Musician and recent heart recipient Shawn Lucas will perform Saturday, April 16, at Hanovers in Pflugerville, 108 Main St. East.

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