Donor Gives Burnsville Grandfather New Heart, Kidney

Updated: 06/15/2013 8:16 AM KSTP.com By: Josh Rosenthal



Photo: MGN Online
Photo: MGN Online

Dave Costello turned 61 years old on Thursday, but you'll have to excuse him for keeping the party going.

In fact, he's still singing, "happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me and my donor, happy birthday to me."

For more than four years, Costello, of Burnsville, could barely spend time with his grandkids - let alone play with them.

"I never thought that I would receive the gift I've received," he said.

Costello suffered from a rare genetic condition called Amyloidosis, which can cause different organs to fail. In Costello's case, he needed a new heart and kidney.

He was placed on the transplant waiting list and stayed there until this February when he says a 44-year-old organ donor died in an accident, and saved Costello's life.

"I know I have a much better heart with me today than I ever did," Costello said, "and God bless my donor and my donor family."

Now Costello's moving better than he has in years, and he's proud to say the birthday celebration continues with a granddaughter sleepover planned for Friday night.

"You've got somebody like Frank Sinatra that says the best is yet to come," he said. "I tend to think the best is yet to come."

Costello only recently learned the identity of his donor. He's exchanged a couple of letters with the donor's family, who remain anonymous to all but a few people.

About 60 percent of Minnesotans are registered organ donors, which is higher than the national average of about 40 percent.

According to LifeSource Minnesota, everyone has the potential to be an organ and tissue donor. Most health conditions won't prevent donation and age is not a factor.

You can register when you apply for, or renew, your driver's license, or by visiting www.DonateLifeMN.org.