Tom Morrarty spent his life fighting crime and the past year fighting for his life.
Last Thanksgiving, Morrarty was in critical heart failure. Doctors kept him alive via a machine that took over for his heart and lungs. Soon after, he was given an artificial heart. Then, Morrarty suffered two strokes.
Months passed, and finally, Morrarty underwent a heart transplant.
On Monday, Morrarty returned to the intensive care unit at Florida Hospital Orlando where he stayed for so many months. But this time, he was walking, breathing and his own heart strongly beating.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, he stopped by to deliver a special message of thanks to the clinical team that saved his life and helped him survive the series of rare, critical procedures and surgeries.
"They got me through it. It's amazing. I'm very grateful for all they did," said Morrarty, who retired to Florida in 2017 after serving 27 years in law enforcement in Connecticut.
Physicians were quick to point out they aren't the ones deserving of thanks.
"It´s not me or our team giving them this gift," said Dr. Scott Silvestry, surgical director of thoracic transplant at Florida Hospital, which will become AdventHealth in January. "The gift comes from a nameless, faceless stranger in the community whose thoughtfulness enables them to have their life back."
Morrarty agrees and said he has much to be thankful for.
"I got a second chance at life, and that makes this Thanksgiving even more special," he said.