New heart, new life, new man

Feeling better than ever at age 73

About Bob Aronson

On August 21, 2007 I received a new heart at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. All these years later I am very active, happy and loving life. God bless my donor and his family. His generosity toward a complete stranger will never be forgotten.

Following my transplant I split my time between two obsessions.  One was helping my wife and caregiver, Robin, establish her “Jinglers Jewelry” art business and the other is promoting organ donation.

I have established and will continue to operate my over 3,000 member Facebook group “Organ Transplant Initiative.”  I also post regularly on my WordPress blog, Bob’s Newheart.  Our timely and relevant topics reach thousands of people every month in 142 countries around the world.  With over 200 blogs, we believe we can truly say that if you need information about transplantation/donation issues Bob’s Newheart is a treasure chest of information.  Check it out, leave a comment and let us know if there’s a topic you’d like us to write about.

Robin and I live in Jacksonville, Florida with our two dogs Reilly the main dog and Ziggy the backup. We are a very happy family. My gratitude to my donor, his family and the Mayo Clinic is beyond my ability to express. Suffice it to say I will do whatever is in my power to promote organ and tissue donation and to help support everyone affected by the issue.

I am a former journalist, governor’s press secretary and communications consultant. I am also a political junkie. Originally from Minnesota I am married (Robin) have three children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

My three grown children are Colleen Hegranes Executive Vice President St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Roger Aronson a Minneapolis, Minnesota Attorney, and Harryet (Hank) Freeman the best history teacher at Woodbury, Minnesota High school.  Robin’s son my stepson, Tim Grant, is an an outstanding electrician here in Jacksonville

For over a quarter of a century leading up to my transplant I was a private communications consultant specializing in healthcare. My very first client was the Mayo Clinic. I also worked with 3M health care, UNOS, LIfeSource, Dartmouth University Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center and CH2M HILL, one of the nation’s largest environmental engineering firms. Prior to being a consultant I served for nearly four years as the first Anchor for Morning Edition on the Minnesota Public Radio Network; was the Communications director for Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich fromm 1974 to 1978 and before that held positions as a broadcast journalist at several midwest facilities.

When I have time, my hobbies include reading, music and woodworking.  four  years ago I completed building a scale model of the mom and pop grocery store my parents ran for 50 years in Chisholm, Minnesota. They were wonderful people who instilled in me a very strong work ethic and a sense of fairness and equality.  I also recnetly finished building a dollhouse for granddaughter Lily Grant.

I have a brother and sister of which I am very proud.  They are twins. Terry is a Minnesota District Court Judge and Mary retired but still the best 3rd grade teacher in America.  My wife Robin is a caregiver, musician, artist, entrepreneur and the best friend I have.  There is no way I could find words to express the admiration, respect and love that I have for my wife.

One more thing.  I am also a recovering Alcoholic and a former smoker.  I emerged from a 28 day in-patient treatment program in August of 1982 and have managed to stay sober with the help of a lot of people both in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I quit smoking in January of 1991 after a 37 year habit.  It wasn’t easy but I’m living proof that it can be done.

I am available to anyone suffering from or affected by any addiction at any time  through my email address bob@baronson.org or via phone 904-434-6512.

  1. John Merli says:

    Hey, Bob! Yeah, it’s me. I Googled you and found out in a matter of minutes you’re leading this second life (in more ways than one, I guess!) as a heart transplant recipient. wow. You like to keep things interesting, don’t you? I’m still living in Virginia outside DC, writing a weekly newspaper column, and technical journal articles mostly on television (and mostly for TV Technology magazine, along with Radio World, now and then). Been doing that after working for the NAB (broadcasters) for about 12 years, and then 4 yeats at PBS, after leaving as Durenberger’s press secretary 20 years ago.

    So how are you feeling these days? Sounds like you’re a new man. Ciao for now. Take care!



  2. Mike Hawkey says:

    Bob I found your Blog when Googling for transplant related sites. I am involved in a new social networking site called thetxspace aimed specifically at everyone involved in a transplant event. It was launched last Friday in the UK. You might like to take a look and join up. We’ve been very suprised at just how many members have joined from the U.S. Its early days for us but we have great hopes for it. The site can be found at http://www.thetxspace.com

    I hope this note finds you in the best of health.
    Kind regards

    Mike Hawkey


  3. Savilla says:

    I live in Vancouver, Canada, and I have kidney failure. I need a kidney from 0 group. My wait here is 8 years. Over 80% of Canadians support organ donation, but only 16% of British Columbians have signed up to be organ donors. I really wonder why there is such a huge gap. Now it is easier than ever to sign up. You can do it online at transplant.bc.ca. The laws have changed in Canada, so the donor stickers on our drivers licenses are not longer valid.

    I signed up to be an organ donor at age 16, and my mother was furious! I think she didn’t want to think of me dying and being cut open. Now she is a strong advocate for organ donation, because she now sees my struggle with kidney failure and she desperately wants me to be healthy again. I have talked to people who are not organ donors, and I asked them why. Some said it was because they just never got around to doing it. Others said they already told their families they want to donate their organs (not taking responsibility for themselves).

    We live in a society of people who are not proactive. I am hoping we can change that.



  4. Carmelita says:

    My husband and I would like to donate our kidneys or bone marrow but we know that may take time away from our jobs and family. We would hope our time, travel and post surgery care could be compensate Our hearts ache just to think someone die every day because there are not enough donnors. We want to help! Carmelita Hanley


  5. …. thought you might be interested in the Britannica post today, by a professor who’s an organ donor, on why non-cash incentives should be legal in the U.S. for encouraging more organ donations:


    We’d certainly welcome your opinion, and feel free to link back in your comments to your fine site, too.

    All the best,

    Barb Schreiber
    Britannica Blog
    Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
    Chicago, Illinois USA


  6. Karen Prior says:

    Hi there Bob,

    My name is Karen Prior. You recently left a lovely caring message on our sons website http://www.thelewispriorfoundation.org

    We sadly lost our son Lewis on April 6th 2004, he was in need of an urgent heart transplant, he was just two years and eight months of age. In a few weeks it will be the anniversary of his angel day…i miss him so much. Today is Mothers Day in the UK, this has bittersweet memories for me as it was on mothers day in 2004 that i had my four children all together for the last time in Birmingham children’s hospital , England…a few weeks later we lost Lewis.

    We want to make a difference in Lewis’s name, thats why we set up his foundation. Please take a look at Lewis’s website again and click onto our donor system page, there you will find a three minute mini clip we made of our son to highlight the need for more registered donors. Please leave your comments about it on our guestbook.

    We also have a Facebook group raising awareness, please feel free to join & invite all you can


    Finally thank you so much for taking the time to visit Lewis’s website.

    Kind Regards
    Karen Prior.


  7. James Borton says:

    Dear Bob,

    I am a triple bypass survivor and I am continuing to write new posts for my blog, http://www.allheartmatters.com. I encourage you to read the latest since it has a heart transplant news angle. Simply go to google and search http://www.allheartmatters.com Death by Suicide. I am writing a much longer narrative about the death of Sonny Graham and also island life. Not sure where it’s taking me but I hope that it promises to be a good read.

    For the location of other posts on my site, simply scroll down to the lower right corner and click. Each page/posting opens in that manner.

    I am interested in engaging you in a conversation about how your life changed post transplant. Also, did you want to contact the donor’s family? Changed dreams? Attitude or personality shifts?



  8. Amelia Wasserman says:

    Hello Bob,

    My name is Amelia and I work for a show on the History Channel that features amazing but true stories. The show is featuring one story about a heart transplant and I am interested in interviewing you for the show. Please give me a call or email me when you have some time.

    Thanks very much.

    Best Regards,

    Amelia Wasserman

    Amelia Wasserman
    Cineflix Productions-History Television
    Work #416 504-7317 ext 569
    Cell #416 806-5540


  9. Hey, Bob! Yeah, it’s me. I Googled you and found out in a matter of minutes you’re leading this second life (in more ways than one, I guess!) as a heart transplant recipient. wow. You like to keep things interesting, don’t you? I’m still living in Virginia outside DC, writing a weekly newspaper column, and technical journal articles mostly on television (and mostly for TV Technology magazine, along with Radio World, now and then). Been doing that after working for the NAB (broadcasters) for about 12 years, and then 4 yeats at PBS, after leaving as Durenberger’s press secretary 20 years ago.


  10. Daryl Press says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!


  11. Le Erchul says:

    Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!


  12. The new mam says:

    Hello. I just want to say that what you share here is really nice post so I have post http://bobsnewheart.wordpress.com/about on my Facebook profile so everybody can have the chance to enjoy. I was happy when I saw this tittle, About Bob's NewHeart, on google search, and the reason is that at long last I found what I was looking for. Thank you


  13. Hey could I reference some of the information from this post if I reference you with a link back to your site?


  14. Mike Spindell says:

    Hi Bob,

    I received my heart transplant in October of 2010. My wife Maxene, my caregiver, has been aware of your work for awhile. Earlier today she sent me “From the Bottom of My Donor’s Heart” which of course moved me, but also impelled me to react to it by doing something.

    I am one of the regular weekend guest bloggers at jonathanturley.org, which is the winner of the American Bar Association’s Award for best opinion blog. While we focus on Civil Liberties issues as appropriate given that Jonathan Turley is one of the leading voices on civil liberties in this country. Professor Turley gives us wide latitude to blog on issues of interest that aren’t specifically focused on Civil Liberties.

    My aim would be to do a blog discussing my own transplant and the issues around it, then providing links to “From the Bottom of My Donor’s Heart” , Facebook Links and to of course your blog. I wanted to write you to see if that would be okay with you and to receive whatever input you might give me. Given that the Turley Blog is widely known, 10 million hits and counting, this seems to me to be a good way of getting the information out there and to have people sign up to be donors.

    However, I won’t publish anything until I get your approval. You are doing great work, have inspired me to do more and so I wouldn’t want to proceed w/o your blessing. You know how to reach me. Thank you for all you are doing.


  15. I really like your writing style, great info, thank you for posting :D.


  16. Mike Spindell says:

    Thank you Morgan, I appreciate that comment.


  17. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of About Bob's NewHeart . Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.


  18. msn show says:

    The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.


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