Tracadie, Nova Scotia native Adam Delorey received a huge gift to start his summer.
Living in Calgary, the husband and father of two “received the gift of life” with a long-awaited heart transplant.
The ‘about me’ section of his website – adamdelorey.com – talks about his journey.
“A normal 13-year-old boy is full of energy, life and excitement. At 13, I was in heart failure and was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. My life changed – though it never stopped me from living. In the initial stages of prognosis, I was told I would need a heart transplant by the time I was 24. I blew passed this, and surpassed all expectations.
“Instead of letting my diagnosis push me down, I built a successful career as an electrical engineering technologist, starting at age 20; I started stand-up comedy at 24, got married at 31, and now have two beautiful daughters.
“Eventually my heart had enough, and I went into heart failure in 2014 and then again in 2016. At this point, I had a surgery to implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). This kept me healthy until my transplant on June 15, 2019.
“I now advocate for organ donor awareness, perform stand-up comedy and regularly speak at events. By telling my story with a humorous flare, I always thrive to leave audiences feeling inspired and full of life.”
Delorey provided the following timeline in recent correspondence with the Casket.
- 1994 - heart failure at 13 - diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, bounced back to EF (ejection fraction) of ~40 per cent
- 2014 - heart failure at 33, Charlotte four-months-old, EF bounced back to ~18-20 per cent; next few years very difficult, worked full time, wife worked three to four evenings per week.
- 2016 - April, Charlotte 2.5 years, Emily four months, unknown infection, when I went into hospital blood pressure was 59/28 - super low, staff did not know how I was conscious, let alone walking. Cardiologist put me off work at that point
- 2016, October - heart failure again, at which point it was either transplant or LVAD; took the LVAD as it was a shelf item
- 2018, April - went back to work full time, got pneumonia, then back to work full time again in September.
- 2019, June 15 - transplant
When Delorey addresses audiences, he said organ donation is, obviously, a big topic, but so is donating blood regularly.
“Try and make it a habit to donate blood; the blood banks are always in need,” he said.
He also talked about his journey providing him the perspective of maintaining a “positive outlook on life,” and not judging others because it’s impossible to know, exactly, their struggles.
“Everyone faces their hurdles, has obstacles in life,” Delorey said.
“What I always try and tell people is that everything is relative, right; the worst thing that ever happened to you and the worst thing that ever happened to me might be two different extremes. I’ve had a heart transplant, someone else might have had pneumonia – that might have been the biggest hurdle they had to get over in life so far – but for me to dismiss their stress with that isn’t right.
“So when you see someone going through something, you don’t go, ‘geez, they just had pneumonia,’ ‘they just had a broken leg’ or something; no, that’s the biggest thing they have had to deal with and they’re having trouble dealing with that.
“Just respect everyone; you never know what someone is going through. Don’t judge people too quickly.”
On Sept. 24, Delorey will be taking part in the season opener of CBC’s The Debaters, which will be filmed in St. John. He will be debating the need for people to become organ donors.
A couple of nights later (Thursday, Sept. 26), Delorey will be returning home to do his comedy show at the Bauer Theatre.
The show gets underway at 7:30 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m.
“A good friend of mine, Peter Anthony, he is going to open up the show,” Delorey said, referring to the Pictou native who is an award winning comedian.
“He was, actually, the first person to ever bring me on stage, back in 2003, I think it was. He was the emcee for the show the first time I ever got on stage.”
Delorey said his set will be his traditional comedy routine which, of course, like a lot of comedians, incorporates real-life experience; in this case, his journey.
“It’s comedy with, maybe, a few details of my life story … a little bit,” he said. “My headlining set for comedy kind of runs through everything anyways.”
Delorey has had the opportunity to perform with comedic legends such as Mike MacDonald, Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall, Doug Stanhope and Norm MacDonald.
His recently released album, Heartless, can be heard on SiriusXM satellite radio, and is available for purchase online on all platforms.
It has been a number of years since Delorey has played in front of a home community crowd; he is very much looking forward to the opportunity.
“It has been a long time since I did a show in Antigonish, probably around 2003 or 2004, when I first started,” he said. “And, once again, Peter was with me back then; he headlined the show. It was at Pat’s Place.
“So it has been a long time since I did one there, I’m pretty excited.”
But while he hasn’t performed in the area for some time, he noted, as a family, they do try and make it home once a year, with his parents and brother still living in Tracadie. Delorey’s father is former Municipality of the County of Antigonish Warden Herb Delorey.
“And my wife (Julie) is from P.E.I., so she was back a couple of weeks ago with the girls,” he said. “We always make it a point to go home every summer. I wouldn’t be going right now if I didn’t have my heart already; I didn’t this summer with Julie and the girls as I was recovering.”
Tickets, $20 advance - $25 at the door, can be purchased online at ticket.festivalantigonish.com (credit card purchases).