This Thanksgiving season, Brent Tiede won’t get to toss a football around with his kids, go hunting or even go to work, but he is counting his blessings — among them the promise of a new, healthy heart.
The call could come any day from St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., where the former Great Bend man is at the top of the B waiting list — those needing a heart now but well enough to spend some time at home — for a transplant.
Although the 38-year-old Maize man has had heart problems for years, he was a healthy teenager back in his Great Bend High School days, when he participated in wrestling. After graduating from GBHS in 1991 he attended Barton Community College, where he was on the cheer squad as he worked to earn his licensed practical nurse degree.
Working for nine years at Great Bend Health & Rehabilitation, he went on to earn an RN degree at Pratt Community College.
Until recently, Tiede was working as a registered nurse in Wichita. He and his wife Tricia have three sons, Seth, Michael and Blake.
However, for more than a decade Tiede has had heart problems. "I have not felt real wonderful for several years," he said. In 1995, attended by specialists in Oklahoma City, he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, described by the Mayo Clinic as a condition in which the heart beats rapidly because of abnormal, extra electrical pathways between the heart’s upper and lower chambers.
"They told me somewhere down the road I would probably need a heart transplant," he said. "I thought, ‘I want my own heart.’"
Meeting with other patients like himself, and moving higher on the need list, Tiede eventually had a change of heart, so to speak. Now he is grateful for the efforts by staff at St. Luke’s to find a suitable donor. This past week, he learned, a potential donation became available and he was considered as the recipient.
"The donor was an older person. They decided it would not be an optimal heart for me," he said. Ideally, the best match will be someone closer to his own age, or even someone 55 or younger.
"I’m excited and scared at the same time," Tiede said. "It will give me a new life, basically."
Although the Tiedes have health insurance, the expenses related to Brent’s medical condition have also taken a toll, which is why several friends and family members have stepped forward to assist with fundraisers. Shawn Behr, who has known Tiede since kindergarten, paid for "Brent’s Change of Heart" wristbands, which will soon be available for $4 donations. Behr and his wife, Desa Marmie Behr, went to high school with Tiede and plan to have some of the wristbands at the Marmie stores.
Donations can be made at branch offices of the Credit Union of America, including the one in Great Bend, which will also be getting wristbands. Tiede said Medical Park Home Equipment in Great Bend will also have them, perhaps as early as today.
A friend who sells Scentsy-brand candles and scented products on the Internet is holding an online fundraiser. To make purchases go to the website mistidavis.scentsy.us and click on the link for the "Brent Tiede Fundraiser." Proceeds from all orders placed there will go to the Tiede family, Davis said.
People can learn about new fundraisers and other updates on Tiede’s Facebook page: Brent’s Change of Heart.