Change of heart

Headshot image of Tom Volk with words TEDxUWLaCrosse Chain Reaction. A Change of Heart: My transplant experience. Tom Volk, Biology, UW-La Crosse.Tom Volk presented as part of the TEDxUWLaCrosse event on Feb. 8. Like the other speakers at the event, his story demonstrates a chain reaction.

Biology professor shares why he is sometimes grateful for heart disease, cancer in this TEDx video

UWL Biology Professor Tom Volk will celebrate the anniversary of his heart transplant on Tuesday, May 22. The moments leading up to his surgery 12 years ago are etched in his memory. He still vividly recalls the phone call from Mayo Clinic with a voice on the other end saying, “We have a heart for you.”

“I’ve replayed that call in my head 100,000 times because that’s when everything changed. My whole life changed at that point,” says Volk. “I wasn’t ready. I was terrified. The first thing I did was I went into my room and cried a lot …”

But, surviving his transplant and numerous other health issues has given Volk a different perspective — a change of heart so to speak. In this video he explains why there are days he is glad he had heart disease — and cancer. Listen to his story.

Volk’s story demonstrates a chain reaction, just like four other speakers who presented during the TEDxUWLaCrosse event Thursday, Feb. 8, at the UWL Student Union. More videos from the event will be shared in coming months.

Other presenters included:

  • Dany Bicoy, UWL student, musician and poet
  • Tim Dale, UWL associate professor, Political Science Public Administration
  • Suthakaran Veerasamy, UWL assistant professor, Psychology
  • Dawn Wacek, youth services manager, La Crosse Public Library

Also, in a special video feature at the event, Sue Hessel, writer and personal historian, interviewed long-time social justice advocate June Kjome