From the Dept. of Deeply Heartwarming Stuff

Poet Dean Young has undergone a heart transplant

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 Also, a new state registry ( 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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The Heartsick Poet
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Dean Young, Laurie Saurborn, Roger Reeves, Shawn Lucas

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