Pictured (L-R): Zack Tysinger; Dr. Sanjeev Gulati, chief of Adult Cardiology and medical director of Heart Failure and Transplant Services at Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute; Tim Tysinger and John Tysinger.

After Tim Tysinger received the ultimate gift – a new heart – he dedicated his second chance at life to ensuring medically fragile heart patients have a smooth path to recovery. An active father of two adult sons, Tim was living life to the fullest when his heart health took a dangerous turn after contracting the COVID-19 virus in 2020. Though the virus itself did not make Tim critically ill, his heart was dealt a blow that would prove to be deadly. Diagnosed 13 years prior with a dilated aorta, his heart condition deteriorated significantly following his bout with the coronavirus. Tim was referred to the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Program at Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute (SHVI) by his primary cardiologist and learned he would require a transplant.

On October 1, 2021, Tim underwent a successful heart transplant surgery at SHVI. But Tim’s road to recovery was paved with physical and mental challenges, which he credits his doctors – and especially his nurses in the Mattei Cardiothoracic Surgery Intensive Care Unit – for helping him overcome. “The support my nurses provided in the month following my transplant was truly what inspired me to start my family foundation,” Tim shared. “I want to help ensure other patients receive the same level of care.”

Soon after his transplant, Tim and his sons, John and Zack, sat down with Dr. Sanjeev Gulati, chief of adult cardiology at SHVI, to discuss how their family could have the greatest impact on patients. They decided to focus on the development of ICU nurses by establishing the Tysinger Family Fund for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care at Atrium Health Foundation. The Tysinger Family Fund will enable SHVI to create a full-time ICU nurse educator position, an important catalyst for training and nurse recruitment that will have a profound impact on the lives of vulnerable heart patients for years to come.

“During one of the hardest times we have ever experienced as a family, Dr. Gulati and the team at Sanger were there for us every step of the way,” shared John, Tim’s eldest son. “We are very grateful for all they have done for us and look forward to supporting them in helping countless others in the future.”


Want to express your gratitude for an Atrium Health caregiver? Atrium Health Foundation has established the Grateful Patient Program, which provides opportunities for patients and their families to share their appreciation for the care given at Atrium Health. Charitable gifts may be made in honor of a physician, nurse, or other caretaker who has been a part of a patient’s medical journey. To give from the heart, click here.