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To have a heart: Transplant patient on the mend

Okay, you've been meaning to sign up to donate your organs. The intention is there, but you forgot when you last renewed your driver's license. Here is a pint-size reminder. Charlie Pinckney, brother of Will, both 5-years-old. Twins. Charlie had a heart transplant July 23. He is one brave little boy with one thing on his mind. Play.

And, he is at it again in a big way.

It all started with what his parents thought was a bad flu when he was 2 years old. Several surgeries later including a pacemaker and a defibrillator, he showed improvement, enough to come home, even though a heart transplant was mentioned at that time. But last January, he started getting weak. His parents Chris and Cathy Pinckney of Academy Street just knew.

Back to Boston Children's Hospital where Charlie's status was determined as 1A, which is the most severe. He was put on a list for a heart.

Finding a heart relies on several factors, such as blood type, size of organ and geography of the donation. Time is of the essence in transplant operations, as with many medical situations. The only thing the patient or moms and dads can do is hope, or in the case of a kidney, where there are two vital organs, a family member can donate.

But obviously this is not the case with a heart.

The Pinckneys are very thankful to their community. One they moved back to, to start a business The Pinckney Hugo Group, a full-service marketing communications agency based in Syracuse. Chris teamed up with his brother Doug, who also moved back to Skaneateles. Cathy said it really helped that they owned their own business, whose staff was very supportive during this ordeal.

The Pinckneys were also lucky in that their neighbor Eileen Marrinan referred them to her good friend in Boston who just so happened to be a transplant doctor. The other neighbors are dear as well, and their friends and family, who have helped with meals, yard care, childcare or about anything one needs to run a household, as Cathy had to be in Boston with Charlie. Chris stayed home with his twin Will and worked.

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