Dan's Heart Transplant Journey - A Story of Hope and Healing

When you think of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, you might imagine a place with magical sunsets, stunning waterfront attractions, and a wealth of enjoyable activities. 

This is the vision that made Dan Christ want to make Coeur d’Alene his home. 

Dan and his wife cherish long walks, hiking, and cheering on their son during sporting games. However, in March 2020, their lives took an unexpected turn that led him to live in Spokane for several months.

Dan began experiencing troubling breathing issues, leaving him winded after just a few steps. Concerned, Dan sought medical attention at Kootenai Health Medical Center. He was referred to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and after a series of tests, he received a diagnosis that changed his life in seconds — sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that had taken a toll on his heart.

With the guidance of a team of compassionate doctors at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Dan underwent a series of treatments to manage his condition. 

It became evident that a heart transplant was his best hope for a healthier future. Andrew Coletti, M.D., FACC, a cardiologist at Providence Heart Institute, guided Dan's care as he waited for a transplant.

“Transplants are a miracle, but they do take time,” Dr. Coletti said. “We had to find the right heart for Dan and that requires waiting. With Dan’s condition, we needed him to stay in the hospital until we received a match. It was my job to shepherd him to transplant.”

Months slipped away as Dan’s hospital stay extended far beyond what he had ever imagined. Holidays came and went, and his 50th birthday approached with a mix of emotions.

After spending seven months at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Dan received a successful heart transplant from Cristy Smith, M.D., and her remarkable care team.

“I certainly hope my story can instill peace, courage, and hope in others suffering from a life-threatening disease or health risk,” Dan said. 

On May 17, 2023, Dan walked out of the hospital and was greeted with cowbells and bubbles as he discharged.

Dan’s story highlights the transformative power of organ transplantation, the incredible skill and dedication of health care professionals, and the resilience of the human spirit. 

Today, Dan’s heart beats stronger than ever. He has returned home to Coeur d'Alene and continues to enjoy what he loves thanks to the incredible gift of organ donation and the specialty team at the Providence Heart Institute.