Don Salamone, Transplant Recipient

Don Salamone Register in honor of Don

Share Don's story with others:

Checking out was not an option...

My name is Don Salamone and I am a heart recipient. Being a lifetime hardcore runner, the last thing that ever entered my mind through the years was that my heart would cause me health issues. After all, I had been running and competing all my life. I had a perfect diet and did everything by the book. Well, life threw me a curveball when a virus got to my heart about six years ago and started to do its thing.

Slowly, it weakened my heart to the point where I had to get a transplant or I was checking out. Checking out was not an option. In October of 2012, a donor heart came with my name on it. I was called in from home for my heart and eight days later I walked out of the hospital with young strong beating heart. I have tried a few times to reach out to the donor’s family but with no luck. Maybe someday they will find out the amazing things I have done with their gift to me.

I have been able to return to my passion of running and competing in road races. Five months post-transplant, I ran a local 5k road race and finished 2nd in my age group (55-59) running 3.1 miles at 7:30 seconds per mile. Not as fast as I ran before my transplant, but that is not important to me. Just to pursue my passion and let others know anything is possible after a transplant is what I want people to know.

Since that first race, I have continued to run and race at all different distances up to a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles). Even though it has only been about 17 months post-transplant I have run times I believe no heart transplant recipient could ever run. I now run 6-7 miles a day usually 6-7 days a week. I won’t kid you that it is easy, it is not. Mental and physical resiliency have always been part of my life because of my competitive running past. Without those tools, this journey could have gone in a much different direction.

I truly believe the journey I am on is not in my hands. I do the best I can with my life skills and God takes it from there. God bless all that have helped me along the way.

Become a part of Don Salamone's story. Click Here.

  1. December 20th, 2015 | Don Salamone |

    You are so correct Cheri. Without my wife by my side advocating for me while I was struggling for my life things could of and probably would off turned out not so good. I found the Angel of my life in my wife's and hope to express my love for her for the rest of our lives together. Miracles happen in so many ways. Never stop hoping and believing in the miracles of life.

  2. September 22nd, 2015 | Anonymous |

    Well done Don. Billy Meissner (

  3. August 13th, 2015 | Cheri |

    Hi Don, I'm also JUST seeing this. I too wish you the best of health and success in life. Keep the faith. I have heard you have a wonderful, loving and very supportive wife that was by your side through it all. You are a blessed man in many ways.

  4. March 23rd, 2014 | Don Salamone |

    Some updates on my running and my health. It will be 17 months post heart transplant and my new heart seems to be doing well in its new home. Although is is a daily struggle dealing with the side effects of the meds my running has helped A LOT with dealing with the meds. If it wasn't for my running coping would be so much more difficult. Since the transplant I have run a 5k in 21:05 an a 10k in 46:43 both of which earned me 2nd place in my age group (55-59). I tried the Surf City 1/2 marathon in February and ran 1:45:16.The 1/2 marathon is not really my ideal distance and it hurt a lot. Nothing to do with my new heart but rather I was only running about 30 miles a week at the time and that is not enough mileage to be racing a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles). Currently my mileage is about 45 miles a week so maybe down the road I will give the 1/2 marathon another shot. Looking forward to going back to Boston to cheer on the brave soles that are trying the 26.2 mile distance for the first time. Good like to all and God b with you. Don Salamone

    • May 15th, 2014 | Anonymous |

      Hi Don, Though I'm only seeing this now, congratulations on your running success post-transplant! It is wonderful to hear that you are doing so well. Best wishes for your continued health and your amazing return to running! Jacqueline Keidel Donate Life Arizona

  5. March 12th, 2014 | Don Salamone |

  6. March 12th, 2014 | Don Salamone |

  7. March 12th, 2014 | Don Salamone |

  8. March 12th, 2014 | Don Salamone |

  9. March 12th, 2014 | Don Salamone |


Maximum File Size 5MB

*Donor Network of Arizona may review and/or delete any posts, photos or comments deemed inappropriate.