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Inspired Giving: The Jack Zwart Story

Vicki McCalmont, Jack Zwart and Dr. Brian Jaski
Jack Zwart, heart transplant patient, with his Guardian Angels Vicki McCalmont, MS, RN, cardiac transplant nurse, and Dr. Brian Jaski, cardiologist.

Jack Zwart lives by the simple motto, “Life is good.” For Sharp-affiliated cardiologist Dr. Brian Jaski, and transplant co-coordinator Vicki McCalmont, RN, this comes as no surprise. The Heart Transplant Program at Sharp HealthCare has been graced by his confidence and optimism.

So when this longtime patient recognized the two heart specialists with Guardian Angel donations, they considered it a further testament to his good spirit.

“I’m grateful he made a donation to Sharp, and that he associated it with me and my care of him,” said Dr. Jaski, the Transplant Program medical director. “His positive mental attitude throughout his transplant care is reflected in this donation.”

More than five years ago, Zwart entered Sharp Memorial Hospital after suffering a heart attack in Mexico. A transplant was his only option. But over the next 15 months, he was in and out of the hospital for heart-related issues, appendicitis and respiratory distress. At last, his heart transplant was performed by Sharp cardiac surgeons.

Now, Zwart visits regularly for follow-up tests and is an exceptionally grateful patient. He recognized two members of Sharp Memorial Hospital’s Transplant Team with Guardian Angel donations.

“When I got a Guardian Angel pin from Jack, it was a very special moment for me,” McCalmont said. “For him to think of me as his Guardian Angel is a reminder of what really matters in the work we do here at Sharp.”

“When you spend that much time, intimately, with people, you become very aware of their care and treatment of patients,” Zwart said. “Before you even had a program for Guardian Angels, they were angels to me.”

Learn more about how you can honor a caregiver through the Guardian Angel Program, giving opportunities at Sharp Memorial and other ways to give.