Transplant recipient proposes during hospital visit (VIDEO)

Tyler Montgomery proposes to girlfriend Keverly. August 2022. (Photo courtesy of London Health Sciences Centre)

A Lambton County man who received a new lease on life is not taking time for granted and recently proposed to his girlfriend in the transplant unit of a London hospital.

Tyler Montgomery of Port Franks received a heart transplant last year and told Sarnia News Today it was a scary situation that changed his life “in the best way”.

Montgomery suffered an ankle injury in April 2021 but later started having pain around his ribcage. After visiting an emergency department, he was initially diagnosed with a heart condition called tachycardia.

However, after more tests were conducted, the young man was later diagnosed with congestive heart failure and severe mitral valve regurgitation.

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) said Montgomery was eventually transferred to Toronto General Hospital where he was placed on the donor list and on life support. A match was found shortly after and he received his new heart on August 14, 2021.

Prior to his diagnosis, Montgomery said he wasn’t one to take life for granted but his perspective on the little things in life has changed.

“I took those small moments for granted. I now, ‘stop and smell the roses’ as they say,” said Montogomery. “I want to follow my dreams.”

After the transplant, Montgomery was discharged from the hospital after just six days. In September 2021, his care was transferred to LHSC.

Cardiac Transplant Coordinator Grant Fisher described Montgomery as a “determined young fellow.”

“He has done really well with his recovery. Typically, a heart transplant patient, they’re going to be in the hospital after their surgery a minimum of a week — usually more like 14 to 21 days,” said Fisher. “Him getting out on day six is just a remarkable recovery.”

Fisher also said Montgomery’s youth and healthy lifestyle had a lot to do with his successful recovery.

While recovering over the past year, Montgomery met his “soul-mate” Keverly (from Camlachie) online.

“We chatted and I think within 24 hours, we were sitting on a beach on our first date and I was hitting her with everything about me… having a heart transplant, and I am not wasting any time, and I am hoping to get married, and have a family and all that stuff. So I was kind of fortunate that she said ‘yes’ to that second date,” he laughed.

Montgomery decided to recently propose at University Hospital, in the Stiller-Blackburn Multi-Organ Transplant Unit, during his one-year anniversary biopsy.

He laughed, stating that the proposal was “cheesy” but he wanted to give his heart to someone at the very place his heart was being cared for.

“This is my second home,” he said. “I wanted to do it here and I was very fortunate enough that I was able to.”

The two plan to wed on July 29, 2023. Montgomery joked that his other half may have had a binder hidden somewhere as the venue and most vendors have already been secured.

As Fisher recognized yet another milestone in Montgomery’s life, he also expressed thanks to the donor who made it possible.

“Thank you to everybody who signs those donor cards. Thank you to everybody who says ‘yes’ when they’re approached at the worst time of their life because then we get to see these stories, these milestones of people who wouldn’t have gotten to those milestones [otherwise].”

-With files from Josh Boyce