Local man celebrates 10 new years with heart transplant he received

CENTRAL POINT, Ore.– Ten years ago next Sunday will mark the day one local man ended his journey to get a new heart that would help him live another day. Supported by his family and friends, Eagle Point resident Erik Goble is now doing better than ever and is happy to be surrounded by his loved ones.

During a mild, smoky Sunday in August, Goble, 37, gathered at Touvelle State Park with friends and family who supported him since the beginning of his journey, to share in what was being called a 10 years “birthday” celebration with the new heart he received.

While everyone engaged in outdoor activities or relaxed beneath the shade, Goble, with his mother, Ellen Vessels, and one of his daughters, Mikaela, by his side, thought back to the years he spent fighting for his life.

“It’s really hard. You want to give up… it’s hard,” he said. “The hardest thing I ever did.”

For two years from 2006 to 2008 Goble fought against a genetic heart disease known as cardiomyopathy, something according to The American Heart Association affects 1 in 500 people. In Goble’s case, his heart was weak and unable to pump as strong as it should.

Goble used drug treatments for those two years but eventually his heart began to run out.

“They went in to check the pressures in my heart and I crashed or whatever,” he said. “They put a balloon pump in. Woke me up. I was in the OR (operating room) still.”

To Goble, that time is something he wishes no one else ever has to go through.

“Emotionally, I think I was done. I was over it,” he said. “I was tired of fighting it. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. So I was about to just give up.”

But that all changed on August 19, 2008 when he received a new heart and a new life. From that day forward, Goble sees everyday as a blessing. So does his mother, who was with him every step of the way, constantly by his side as they made the trips to and from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

For Vessel, seeing her son living life again brings her to tears.

“Everyday that he wakes up and I wake up… I get to see him up and alive and moving and I thank God everyday for that,” she said.

According to Goble, the heart transplant isn’t a permanent solution. He still is required to take medications everyday to ensure his heart keeps beating. But it’s still a second chance to live his life and spend it with family and his three daughters, who help push him to keep fighting everyday.

“When I first had it done you couldn’t pay me to do it again,” he said. “But, because of these guys, I would do it again tomorrow.”

Goble and his family say they want to extend their deepest gratitude’s to the donor that gave Erik his life back and encourage others to sign up to become organ donors to help save someone else’s life.

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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