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Poet waiting a year for heart transplant shares inspiration, patience

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An award-winning poet on the heart transplant list is using his talents to inspire others.

Omarr Gadling was born with a heart congenital heart defect, although it’s gotten worse over time. He’s sharing his story so that no one else ever gives up hope.

For more than a year, “Brother O” has been waiting for a heart. He’s being cared for at Riley Hospital for Children because its doctors specialize in the surgery he’ll need. Nearing his second Thanksgiving at the hospital, Gadling says he’s thankful for so much. “God has provided for all of my needs and I’ve never had to go without anything,” Gadling said.

The 47-year-old said he always had a knack for writing but decided to pick up poetry in his early 30s. “I use poetry as a method of telling my life story.”

That skill has made him a four-time national spoken word awardee.

For the last year, he’s turned his hospital room into his creative studio, churning out piece after piece, using life experiences as inspiration to form each one. “You are more than your affliction.”

Born with what’s known as blue baby syndrome, several surgeries and a pacemaker have kept him going over the years, but those fixes won’t work now. He needs a heart.

Gadling said that he has to “stay busy. If you occupy your mind by waiting for a heart transplant, your sense of worry and stress… Like when is it going to happen? When is it going to come? But, poetry has really enabled me to keep my focus.”

Gadling says the key is taking each day one at a time. Knowing and believing his day will come, he hopes his story shows others so will theirs.

“Don’t worry about what you cannot control. You can’t control what you can control and let God do the rest.”

He’s done a lot during his yearlong wait. He’s turned his work into songs with help from the hospital’s music therapists.

Music therapist Jenny Kaufman said, “We know music therapy can help stabilize vital signs and help a patient become more relaxed and reduce anxiety when they are in the hospital. You can also help with coping.”