A heart donor has been found for 8-year-old T.J. Olsen, according to an announcement by the Olsen family on Friday.
Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen announced his son was a match for a transplant days after initially being put on a waiting list.
“Today is a day of mixed emotions,” Olsen wrote on Instagram. “A day we have prayed for has arrived. We were alerted last night that there was a donor match for T.J. to receive his heart transplant.
“Walking our little boy, with tears of hope and fear in our eyes, was one of the toughest moments of our lives. We ask for everyone’s prayers for T.J. and his amazing team of doctors and nurses.”
A long, hard-fought road lays ahead for T.J., who has already gone through three open-heart surgeries, along with having a pacemaker put in place to overcome the congenital heart defect he was born with in 2012.
Ultimately, the Olsen’s have worked to improve their son’s quality of life with a condition that most newborns don’t survive past the first two weeks of life. Olsen wrote in a series of tweets two weeks ago about TJ’s heart, saying it “reaching its end” and the family was considering their next steps.
Shortly after T.J. ‘s birth, the future Hall of Famer and his wife, Kara, founded the HEARTest Yard to help other families dealing with the financial hardship of heart conditions with children. The couple have also donated millions to fund the heart surgery center at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. A place where T.J. has been receiving care since officially opening last year.