South Jersey Man Competes in Transplant Games

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MOORESTOWN, NJ -

One local man is not letting a heart transplant stop him from doing activities he loves. And now he wants to share an important message with other transplant recipients. 

Just a week ago, 67-year-old South Jersey native Robert Goodman was competing at the 2018 Transplant Games in Salt Lake City. 

“I did two cycling events on Friday, I did three swimming events on Saturday, and I followed it up with some track and field events on Sunday as well. It was pretty darn incredible, and I will do it again," said Goodman of Westampton.

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He joined thousands of competitors, some of whom were living donors, and others like Goodman who were transplant recipients. 

“It’s a huge opportunity to honor donor families and donors in general at this event, but donors' families at this event," said Goodman. "And it was a great, great personal experience for me."

It was just a few years ago that Goodman received the heart transplant — on November 29, 2013 — that changed his life and put an end to years of heart problems. 

“I had no muscles left to speak of and had to learn how to walk again," said Goodman.

His journey to the games started right here in South Jersey because this is where he started training over four years ago with Virtua’s Cardiac Rehab team.

“I was here for about three months or so, there were 36 sessions, and they gave me the confidence that I needed to really come back," said Goodman. 

And now, since regaining his strength, he's set out to stress just how important cardiac rehab is. 

“People come physically and mentally very scared and not sure what their life is going to be," said Sue Gilbride, a registered nurse at Virtua's Cardiac in Moorestown. "They think this is it. I’m a cardiac cripple, that used to be the term, and it’s completely the opposite."

The team at the Virtua facility works to help their patient maximize their functions. 

“I’m just so grateful to these folks here," said Goodman. "The program that they offer here is what anybody that’s been through any kind of a heart event. I encourage everybody to go to cardiac rehab. I don’t care where you go or where you live, you really need to go."

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