The 67-year-old is able to take rides on his Honda Goldwing Trike with wife, Sharon, all because of an organ donor.
Sanders will celebrate a year with his new heart on Aug. 4. The industrial sewing machine technician will mark the occasion by sharing his testimony with the congregation at Zion Pentecostal Church in Christ. The church is located on Little Zion Road in Corinth.
"It's not about me, it's what the Lord does to help people," said Sanders of his talk set for 11 a.m.
"We want people to know organ donations make a difference," added Sharon.
A third of his heart was damaged when Sanders suffered his first heart attack at the age of 50. Over time, he had more attacks with 11 stents put in. A pacemaker and defibrillator were also added before it was determined he needed a new heart.
"I was on the list a year and spent five weeks in Baptist Memorial Hospital," he said. "Life has been wonderful since the transplant."
Sanders learned his heart came from a 54-year-old motorcycle policeman in Oklahoma.
"He is still riding a bike today," said Sanders with a smile.
Sanders didn't think he would ever live to see a transplant. One night he had an attack in his home, one he thought was going to end it all.
"I collapsed and could hear the ambulance workers, but I could not see them," he noted. "They put me on the stretcher and rolled me out, but I still couldn't see them … I told the people in the ambulance 'I was fixing to die.'"
The father of five didn't.
Today, Sanders carries a guardian angel in his pocket. The angel isn't for him, it's to pass along to others in need,
"I don't leave home without one," Sanders said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 50 lives are saved or improved when a person donates their organs following death. The clinic said over 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ donation. Unfortunately, many may never get the call saying that a suitable donor organ and a second chance at life has been found.
"When people donate, they are heroes," said the heart transplant recipient. "Since the transplant, I have had four to five people tell me they have become donors."
To become a donor a person can:
• Register with your state's donor registry. Most states have registries. Check the list at OrganDonor.gov.
• Designate your choice on your driver's license. Do this when you obtain or renew your license.
• Sign and carry a donor card. Cards are available from OrganDonor.gov.
• Tell your family. Make sure your family knows your wishes regarding donation.
Those having questions for Sanders about the transplant can contact him at 662-287-7295.