By Lynn Jones -Walking the Halls of Raines Hall School in the late 80’s, Leonard Larramore treasured family ties, academics and athletic integrity. He used that background to achieve college degrees that led to a career in the National Football League playing for both the Carolina Panthers and the Buffalo Bills.
Little did he know he would have to use that same acumen in the fight for his life.
Despite living a healthy lifestyle working as personal trainer, businessman and gifted speaker, a 39 year old Larramore was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2009. Even though he thought he was in tip top shape, the diagnosis halted and blindsided him and his wife of three years, Naishanda.
He had ignored his body pleas for help with signs of high blood pressure and sleep apnea. “The NFL sent out emails saying any players especially linemen go and get yourself checked out.”
Now at the age of 48, he is awaiting a heart and kidney and is a resident at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic.
He remains confident that a miracle is on its way.
Daily Leonard revs up his personality and waits patiently for his heart. Everyday he is hooked to machines while making his way to the exercise room to keep himself strong and ready for his new heart. Leonard also explained that his new heart has to match his body weight. At over 250 lbs, he has to have a heart that can handle his weight to pump the necessary blood to keep him healthy. He is grateful he is on top of the donor list. “I have a lot of people praying for me. My wife and are thankful for all the prayers and support – I’m still here for a reason. It’s only a matter of time before I’m back up and running, literally,” said Leonard with a smile. Shown are Leonard and his wife Naishanda in the weight room at the Mayo Clinic.