New heart means new life for teenager

John Corbell is a new heart transplant recipient who says life is beating in the right direction for him when only eight months ago walking felt deadly.

A Lamar County teenager is living his best life right now two and a-half-months after a surgery to likely save his life.

John Corbell's heart has been failing him since birth. His family couldn't afford the out-of-pocket costs for a heart transplant. Now with the help of his community his heartbeat is strong.

ABC 33/40 sat down with Corbell to see how his life has changed.

As he puts one shoe on then the next right before walking out the front door of his Sulligent home, Corbell now has two feet he can use without fainting thanks to what's beating in his chest.

John told ABC 33/40, "It's good to be able to walk and not feel like I am going to pass out. Used to I couldn’t walk the front yard. Now I can walk around the house a couple times."

When Corbell interviewed with ABC 33/40 back in November, he told ABC 33/40 since birth his failing heart couldn't get blood into his lungs. Because of insurance complications it would have cost the family up to $500,000 without coverage.

In November 2017 he said, "It’s difficult because I see my friends that are my age just having fun and doing other stuff and I’m just having to worry about all this."

After a heart transplant at Vanderbilt University Children's Hospital this April life is certainly more upbeat says John.

“I can feel my heartbeat more now…like I can tell it’s a strong heart,I can feel it beat in my chest," says John.

His mother has been there by his side the entire time. Sabrina Corbell says, "From a mother, for 15 years I have just seen what he’s missed out on."

She says the family didn't think they would have this moment if it weren't for the people of Lamar County who raised more than $50,000, even lining the streets upon John's return home.

Sabrina says, “Every need has been met…and you know we still have more to pay but we are doing great.”

Kevin Corbell, John's father, says the most difficult part now is driving back and forth to Nashville for weekly checkups with doctors. John told ABC 33/40, "It's been emotional."

John says he has been living by a four-letter motto he wears on a shirt he calls 'F.R.O.G.': Faithfully relying on God.

"I am just going to keep my faith strong because God has kept me strong," he says.

John has to take up to 21 daily medications. His mother hopes the family can relocate doctors' visits to Birmingham soon.

His mother says she hopes John's life raises the importance of organ donation. If you need an organ or know someone who does, please click this link to learn more.

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