Local heart transplant recipient walking to D.C. to raise awareness for organ donation

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Northeast Ohio man, who received a heart transplant last year, is walking from Cleveland to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness for organ donation. 

Gene Shimandle ran the 5K Aurora Turkey Trot this past November; at the time, it was just six months after he received a lifesaving heart transplant. It was on that day that he also met the donor's family.

Shimandle had been waiting for 12 years since being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and experiencing congestive heart failure.

He left town today from the Cleveland Clinic, surrounded by the medical professionals who helped save his life.  Shimandle is expected to arrive in D.C. on May 8, which is the first anniversary of his transplant.

**Continuing coverage**