From left, Dr. Andrew Smith and Pat Rotchford accept a check from, Lester E. Crowell Jr.
From left, Dr. Andrew Smith and Pat Rotchford accept a check from, Lester E. Crowell Jr.

By Kitsy Rose

In the past when I thought of super heroes, I had an animated or cape-wearing Hollywood vision in my head. These days, when I think of a super hero, I think of my friend, Lester E. Crowell JR, a two-time heart transplant recipient.

I’ve been an organ donor since I got my first driver’s license. Honestly, I never gave it much thought until 2012 when I met Lester and began learning about his annual Angels of Life event.

The managing partner of Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique, Lester struggled with IHSS (Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis) starting at the age of 13. At 40 he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and placed on the transplant list for the first time at 43. He could barley walk or talk. Lester was in the hospital while the same disease took the life of his beloved mother two floors above him. With determination and strength, Lester continued working during his illness until he received a call from the Emory University Hospital transplant coordinator in April 2000.

Lester received a healthy and strong heart and after a speedy recovery he was able to join in on activities he was never able to do. After nine years, the transplanted heart developed a common threat to all transplanted organs –  chronic rejection, similar to coronary artery disease. The doctors told Lester he was at high risk for a massive heart attack and the only option would be a second heart transplant. Lester received his second transplant in December 2010.

While in the hospital, Lester reflected on the grace, fortune and protection he had been blessed with and at that moment it became a mission for him to make a difference in the lives of those touched by transplant. It was then that the Annual Angels of Life fundraising event was born.

A high energy and inspirational hair and make-up fashion show, Angels of Life benefits the Georgia Transplant Foundation. Guests enjoy an evening of cocktails, food and both a live and silent auction. Brief life stories are shared from both recipients and donors. There’s usually not a dry eye in the house.

This year’s event, the fifth annual, focuses on children and takes place on Sunday, Oct. 4,  at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. A VIP cocktail hour begins at 5 p.m. and general admission doors are at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $59. For more information, or to be a super hero and make a donation, please visit the website at http://three-13.com/Angels/.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.