Mo Shariff Throws First Pitch

Heart transplant recipient Mo Shariff grateful for second chance

August 18th, 2015

Mo Shariff will throw out the inaugural pitch at tonight’s Vancouver Canadians game in support of St. Paul’s’s annual Strike Out Heart Disease campaign at Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Mo received a heart transplant at St. Paul’s on April 1 this year. He was released from the hospital just 10 days later.

“I’m extremely thankful. Without a donor, I would not be here,” said Mo in an interview to Global TV news days after his transplant. “It’s time to walk again. It’s time to eat properly. I have a second chance at life and that’s something I will always be thankful for.”

Prior to the transplant, Mo had a pacemaker inserted and went through the defibrillation process, which provides doses of electric shocks to the heart to re-establish normal heart rhythms. But his heart continued to deteriorate. In October 2013, he had a VAD (an implantable mechanical pump called left ventricular-assist device) inserted to aid his failing heart. But it was clear to his doctors that he needed a heart transplant. Mo was hospitalized six times while waiting for the heart transplant. On three occasions he was taken to the emergency at St. Paul’s. While in emergency, he was asked if he “wanted to be resuscitated.” Mo realized then he was somewhere, potentially, at the end of his life.

Mo, his wife Helen, and their three children are deeply grateful for the generous gift of a new heart from a donor family and the outstanding care he continues to receive at St. Paul’s.

St. Paul’s is home to British Columbia’s only heart transplant program. Proceeds of this year’s event will go towards purchasing a new MRI scanner, which will be faster and reduce wait times for results for patients and their families.

Learn more about how Strike Out Heart Disease provides crucial funding for the provincial Heart Centre at St. Paul’s.