Imagine being married, having a family and a job you lovethe life of your dreams. Now, imagine being told the only way to keep your life is by having a heart transplant.
Brian Troy, 41, doesnt have to imagine this nightmare, hes living it.
Troy was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy in August 2002. Over the years, his heart has weakened so much that his only chance of survival is a heart transplant.
Troy and his wife, Denise, have been married for more than 15 years. When he first met Denise in 1988, he was already raising his 2-year-old daughter, Nicole, nearly on his own. They were married by 1990, and had a son together, Thaddeus, soon after that.
Over the last 15 years, Troy has been living the life he loved. Until his illness forced him to retire in 2003, he was a commercial wire man with the I.B.E.W. L.U. 364 for about 11 years.
For the first year, there really wasnt any changes, just diet, said Denise Troy. Over the last two years, it has gotten a lot worse … we were aware of his treatment. It just seemed to be forever down the road.
Even though his illness had halted him from working for a while, it didnt completely stop his life.
His love for the electrical union encouraged him to get involved in the community. For two years, he headed the Adopt-an-Apprentice program and tried to stay a part of the union as much as possible.
This past Labor Day, Troy was the co-chairman of the Labor Day Committee for I.B.E.W., and helped with the float building. He is also a member of the Labor Day Committee for the City of Rockford.
While being involved in the community, he took up a special interest in politics by helping politicians such as Ald. Dan Conness, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey in campaigning. He attended their fund-raising dinners and always volunteered to be a poll watcher, even for President George W. Bushs election.
He enjoyed fishing, boating and taking his son and friends out knee-boarding and water-skiing. Today, the illness has taken over, and Troy has to stick to less active things such as feeding and watching birds.
Before his illness, Troy was an avid blood donor. He was very disappointed when he was told he could no longer donate, especially since he was only one pint away from donating 6 gallons. Now that the legal age to donate is 16, his son Thaddeus is looking forward to donating.
Our son, who has just turned 16, has taken over, said Denise Troy. He gave blood on his birthday.
Troy has spent so much of his life donating for others, whether it has been his expertise in the electrical business, his time and dedication campaigning or giving his blood.
A fund-raiser benefit will be held for Troy and his family Sunday, Feb. 12 at the I.B.E.W. Local 364 Union Hall, 6820 Mill Rd., from 1-7 p.m.
The event will include a spaghetti dinner, a live auction, a silent auction, raffles and live bands. A $5 donation is requested at the door. Outside donations can be made to The Brian Troy Heart Transplant Benefit/AMCORE Bank at any AMCORE Bank location.
This event is supported in part by I.B.E.W. Local 364, The Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network and The Rock River Valley Blood Center.
From the Feb. 1-7, 2006, issue