Local musician shares story of survival after battling heart issues

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - After a stint in the hospital and three blood transfusions last summer, Donald Hamilton, 86, hopes his story of survival inspires others to donate blood.

United Hospital Center in Bridgeport.

"I think I was kind of ignorant of just how serious [the condition] was," Hamilton recalled.

Speaking to 5 News on the eve of UHC's blood drive, Hamilton recounted when he developed a hematoma, which is a collection of blood found outside of a blood vessel.

He was hospitalized for eight days and required three units of blood. For the next few weeks, Hamilton worked to regain his strength and return to his beloved studio in downtown Bridgeport.

A prolific musician and author, Hamilton says his greatest joy is teaching music.

"I get a great satisfaction out of seeing my students excel," Hamilton said.

Now on the third phase of his cardiac rehab, Hamilton is grateful he can continue teaching, and he gives credit to the anonymous donors for saving his life.

"I've slowed down," Hamilton said. "Not by choice, but because I've had to. But I've never stopped, and I won't stop until it's the end. And that's not going to be very soon."

Hamilton shared his story a week before National Cardiac Rehab Week. In the video above, the manager of cardiac and pulmonary rehab at UHC explains why it's important to raise awareness for the week.