Two Men Waiting For Heart Transplant Battle Bloomsday - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Two Men Waiting For Heart Transplant Battle Bloomsday

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SPOKANE, WASH. - Two men are hoping to tackle Bloomsday together in the toughest time of the their life. Erik Gelhar and Troy Schlimgen both live in the same apartment complex, they both carry a letter and they both have quite the story to tell.

"I got to the point where I could barely walk 30 feet without having severe fatigue," Gelhar said.

"I was playing softball, I rounded the bases and I couldn't get to second base," Schlimgen said.

"It kind of made this crackling sort of sensation," Gelhar said. "I had a crackling in my chest. I had no idea what it was," Schlimgen recalled.

"They did a chest x-ray and it just showed my heart was very enlarged," Gelhar remembers. "The next Saturday I went to the doctor and they found out my heart was very enlarged," Schlimgen said.

And after all of the similarity that Erik and Troy were both listed for a heart transplant on St. Patricks Day of last year. Through the toughest time of their life these two have traveled together and together will battle Bloomsday. In a lot of ways this walk will signal a senses of a accomplishment in a time when they haven't been able to do much at all.

"There's such a big loss of identity that comes with losing your job and kind of your livelihood," Gelhar said.

Though this transplant has taken so much there's still so much to look forward to. 

Like the finish at Bloomsday and the day when they can give those letters we talked about to the people that give them a new heart. Every single day these guys carry a thank you note so when their time comes they are ready. Gelhar talked about what that feeling will be like.

"It's a really precious thing to have to get my life back on track, but at the same time you realize that somebody has lost their life in doing so," Gelhar said.

That day is not here yet, but they know they will finish this race as they celebrate their gift of life, together.

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