MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - By the time Jaren Winings gets out of the University of Minnesota Medical Center next week, it’ll be nearly half a year he has been living in a hospital room.
“Waited about four and a half months for a heart,” said Jaren.
The 26-year-old got his new heart June 23 – it’s a story Fox 9 has told before. In the fall of 1999, Fox 9’s interviewed Jaren as an eight-year-old, who was in need of a new heart.
Last fall, Jaren learned the original heart was failing and it was time for a second transplant because his body was starting to reject the first transplant. In February, he checked in to wait.
“When he first came in, he said, ‘I’m only going to give them a week’ - then pretty soon it was two weeks, then we got three weeks,” said Brad Winings, Jaren’s father. “Then it was ‘Three months, that’s it, I’m done.’”
But Jaren kept waiting until June 23 and recovery has been a battle.
“It’s been very rough,” said Jaren. “I don’t remember much after.”
Five days after surgery, complications put him into a nine-day induced coma. For the entire process, including the wait and the recovery process, his family has stayed at the nearby Ronald McDonald House. It’s where they stayed when Jaren was eight years old. Even though Jaren is now an adult, the organization welcomed his family back with open arms.
“They didn’t even hesitate,” said Brad. “They told [us] once a family, always a family.”
There will be a benefit for Jaren on August 11 at the Zuhrah Shrine Center in Minnetonka from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. For his GoFundMe page, click here.