Former Panther Greg Olsen says donor match found for son to receive heart transplant: ‘A huge step’

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 7:40 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The 8-year-old son of former Carolina Panther Greg Olsen, who was born with a congenital heart defect, is set to receive a heart transplant.

Olsen tweeted Friday that there was a donor match for his son TJ.

“Day 8- Today is a day of mixed emotions. A day we have prayed for has arrived,” Olsen tweeted. “Walking our little boy, with tears of hope and fear in our eyes, was one of the toughest moments of our lives.”

“We ask for everyone’s prayers for TJ and his amazing team of doctors and nurses.” Olsen tweeted that TJ has a long road ahead of him but “this is a huge step forward.”

Olsen, the former Pro Bowl tight end for the Carolina Panthers, said TJ has had three open-heart surgeries and lived with a modified heart for eight years.

“Unfortunately, it seems his heart is reaching its end,” Olsen shared.

Olsen said TJ will continue to be seen at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital near uptown Charlotte.

“We don’t know how long we will be within these hospital walls,” Olsen said. “We do know that we are in full control of our attitudes and our outlook.”

TJ was born in 2012 with a heart defect.

Olsen called his son a “fighter since birth.”

Olsen brought his Greg Olsen Foundation, which provides resources to families affected by cancer and cardiovascular diseases, to the community.

He has been instrumental in starting the HEARTest Yard program with the Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital, which raises money and provides programmatic support for children with congenital heart diseases.

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