‘Inspiration to us all’: T.J., son of former Panther Greg Olsen, rings victory bell after receiving heart transplant

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:01 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Carolina Panther Greg Olsen has been chronicling the journey of his son T.J. has gone through to receive a heart transplant.

Greg Olsen posted another monumental moment in his son’s recovery.

T.J. “rang the bell” at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, signaling a celebration of receiving his gift, a new heart.

T.J. walked to the bell and gave it a tug while nurses and people around him applauded.

Now, he is back home.

“Ever since TJ was admitted into the ICU a little less than a month ago in heart failure, we would lay in bed at night and talk about “ringing the bell,” Greg Olsen posted to social media. “We didn’t know what that journey would look like or how long it would take, but he promised @karaolsen29 and I that he was going to ring it. TJ’s positive attitude and selflessness throughout has been an inspiration to us all. Never did he feel sorry for himself or play the victim. All he did was talk about what the future held and the things he looked forward to doing. Today we “rang the bell”, and for the first time our family whole again.”

T.J., who was born with a congenital heart defect, was in surgery on Friday, June 4, hours after he was told a match was found.

The community has shown support for the Olsens.

“To everyone who prayed for our little buddy and sent us words of encouragement and support, all we can say is THANK YOU and WE 💚 YOU ALL,” Olsen said through social media.”

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 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 Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital, which raises money and provides programmatic support for children with congenital heart diseases.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.