WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Sherman Transou spent his entire life with what some would call a good bill of health. He's never experienced anything outside of the common cold.
In 2016, his health changed drastically. Transou owned a landscaping company and was out in a client's yard when he started experience chest pains and shortness of breath. He went to the doctor and 30 minutes later he was rushed to the hospital.
Unfortunately, Transou suffered from congestive heart failure. His heart was enlarged and only 10 percent of the blood his heart was pumping was making it through his body. He was in dire need of a heart and was placed on the donor's list through Carolina Donor Services.
"If he doesn't get a heart he won't see the end of 2017," Transou said, quoting what doctors told him.
On June 18, 2017 Transou received a call at midnight saying there was a heart for him.
"It was emotional yes, the time to receive that phone call at midnight you know, congratulations," Transou said.
He explained how this entire situation was bittersweet because someone else lost their life so he's could continue on.
The heart donor was Crystal Stokley, 38, of Abbeville, Alabama. While serving in the military for the past 19 years, she was also pursuing her master’s degree in human resources. She passed away after suffering from a brain aneurysm.
"I call her my hero because the fact is she was willing to donate her organs so that someone else could live," Transou said.
Transou purchased a light brown Build-A-Bear. Inside of the bear, there's an audio-recording of his heart beats. He's planning to share that gift with Stokley's family one day.
"I thought, you know what would be a great to be able to get a bear and have my heart, which is her heart, recorded on there, put it on my phone then have it put on to the bear. So that's what I did," Transou said.
Transou's medical experience has propelled him towards his life purpose, which includes inspiring others.
"I've always had that passion to be able to help people but not as I do today. Today my focus -- 100 percent focus -- is to help and inspire people," Transou said.
Twenty-one months after his transplant surgery, Transou was healthy enough to run in marathon. Once a week he spends his time at Baptist Medical sharing his story with cardiac patients. He says there are point in your life where you think you're in control of what happens but ultimately it's left up to God.
"His purpose was maybe to take me down the road for 56 years preparing me for this time that I might be able to go and help people in different ways," Transou said.