November 20, 2006
The city of Charlottesville officially proclaimed November 20th Mark Lindsey Day. Behind the day is an inspiring story of a former UVa football player who lost his chances on the field, but got a second chance at life.
“It was always a dream to play football at UVa and I had always wanted to go there,” said Mark Lindsey.
In the fall of 1995 the 6’6, 260 pound red-shirted freshman began working toward that dream, but before the offensive lineman had a chance to show Virginia what he was made of his dream was shattered. He was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, or a weak heart muscle. His doctors said he would need a heart transplant.
“First initial shock: ‘oh my God, I’m not going to play football anymore’; then a couple of days later I realize I’m more worried about my life right now,” said Lindsey.
During the transplant an aortic value began leaking and it took 174 units of blood to save the former football player's life.
“I wouldn't be here today if people weren't giving blood,” said Lindsey.
Five-hundred people donated the blood used to keep Lindsey alive.
Monday, the Virginia Blood Services held a special blood drive in his honor and Police Chief Tim Longo presented Lindsey with the mayor's proclamation that November 20th would forever be Mark Lindsey Day.
Even though Mark never had the chance to play in a single football game, he got a chance at a lot more. “Sometimes what you originally wanted or dreamed for doesn't happen and you find other things,” he said.
“So many times since Vaden has been born we look at her and think of everyone that gave to him,” said Mark’s wife, Sloan Lindsey.
Sloan gave birth to their first child, a baby girl, four weeks ago.