|Securitys Barry Beddis
Gives Thanks for The Gift of Life
For Barry Beddis, a Jefferson security officer since 1983, every day is truly Thanksgiving Day.
Just how thankful he is for his family, for his friends, literally for his life will hit home when he sits down for Thanksgiving Dinner at the same table with his grandchildren, Melanie, 7, Julia, 2, and Erin, 1.
Every time I see my two youngest grandaughters, I realize how lucky I am, and how amazing it is that I can enjoy being with them. I know how close I came to never seeing them at all.
Barry Beddis is living, walking, working proof of the medical miracle of transplant surgery. Thanks to a donor heart he received two years ago, about the time Julia was born, Barry Beddis is again a fulltime Jefferson security officer and, at age 49, a proud and very thankful grandparent.
Three times since 1983, Officer Beddis found himself in life-or-death situations in hospital emergency rooms in Philadelphia. Three times he was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1996, after 110 days on a waiting list, he finally received a healthy donor heart that today is literally his gift of life.
Giving directions to Susan G. Gerhardt, MD, Resident, Department of Medicine, is Security Officer Barry Beddis. He is patrolling Walnut St. as part of Jefferson Securitys Safe Corridors program, when security officers are posted at key campus intersections and locations from 6 to 9 a.m., 3 to 6 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m.
Today he works a regular day shift at Jefferson, and savors precious time with his family whenever possible. He golfs regularly, but a knee replacement earlier this year caused him to skip playing summer softball. Ill be ready for the 50-and-over league next year, he quips.
On the job, I can do anything anybody else can do. People dont realize that when they think of people with transplants, he says.
Enjoying my family is my biggest joy. Theyve always been there for me, as have the many good friends I feel blessed to have, he says. He particularly credits his wife, Jeanette, for being there every step of the way during his medical ordeals. With all my wife had to do, I believe shes actually been through more than I have.
His other family members are daughters Christine and Carolyn and son Barry. Christine, the mother of Julia and Erin, was a Jefferson nurse for nearly eight years. Melanie is Carolyns daughter; Barry is in the service in Okinawa.
Two massive heart attacks 10 years apart eventually caused Officer Beddiss heart to fail, making it necessary for him to receive a heart transplant. His first attack, in 1983, came when he was a 33-year-old foot patrolman with the Philadelphia Police Department. His second, in 1993, eventually led to his heart failing, nine years after successful quadruple bypass surgery at Jefferson. Between 1983 and 1995 he three times cheated death.
As he looks forward to celebrating with his family his second Thanksgiving Day with his transplant heart, Barry Beddis reflects on his gift of life:
Everything that happens to me is a bonus its all extra. Every day I wake up I appreciate everything about life a little bit more. If all this had not happened, I dont think Id have the same appreciation for life. I give thanks for that every day.