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Sudhir Choudhrie’s heart was failing. He was expected to die within hours when the family of a 20-year-old killed in a motorcycle accident had the compassion and foresight to allow the young man’s heart to save the life of another. That was 21 years ago, and the life saved was that of businessman and entrepreneur Sudhir Choudhrie.

Choudhrie, who was 50 years old at the time of his transplant in 1999, is one of the longest-surviving heart transplant patients and is sharing his story with others. His book, From My Heart: A Tale of Life, Love and Destiny, became an Amazon number one international best-seller within 24 hours of its publication in 2017.

In the book, Choudhrie tells his life story beginning with the loss of his father when he was only four followed by the diagnosis of a heart problem when he was eight, being partially blind because of a childhood accident, and the heart-wrenching loss of his older brother who died in 1997 while he too was waiting for a heart transplant.

Sudhir Choudhrie will never recover from the loss of his brother, but he has recovered from the heart transplant, which was performed by the renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz at the Columbia University Medical Center. Despite the need to take multiple pills every day, watch his diet, walk 30 minutes every day, and give up hard liquor, Choudhrie lives a normal life.

A normal life for Choudhrie admittedly may not be a normal life for everyone. He was born in India to a life of luxury. After his father died, he and his brother Rajiv, who was just two years older, went to live with his paternal grandparents. The wealthy grandparents doted on the two boys. The boys, who were as close as any brothers could be, knew they were living lives of privilege. Even so, they were taught that, “if you yourself are fortunate, then you should do your bit for people who are not.”

According to Choudhrie, one of the reasons he decided to write the book is “to show that there is life after the operating table.” His work with transplant patients following his own life-saving surgery discouraged him somewhat when he found too many of them resigned themselves to dying instead of opening their eyes to the new life they had been offered.

As Choudhrie expressed it, “We are all going to die anyway, but that fate can be delayed if you look after yourself properly.” After his transplant, that is exactly what Choudhrie has done. Although pre-transplant he was not indulgent, since the transplant, he has done everything he was told to do medically to ensure the long-lasting success of his transplant.

Choudhrie has always been an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Post-transplant, he adopted the United Kingdom as his home, where he became involved in interstate commerce and politics and played a role in diplomacy. In 2013, Theresa May, who at the time was Home Secretary for the United Kingdom, bestowed on him the Asian Business Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2009, to honor the hospital that saved his life, the Choudhrie family gave $2.5 million to Columbia University Medical Center to establish the Sudhir Choudhrie Professorship of Cardiology. The funds allow faculty members to pursue vital research.

In 2010, the family established The Choudhrie Family Foundation that funds medical, health, and educational projects in the United States, the United Kingdom, and overseas. This foundation supports all efforts to encourage people to sign up to be organ donors, which Choudhrie says is another reason he wrote his book.

The Foundation is also a major contributor to HealthCorps, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Oz and his wife to encourage youth to focus on their health and life-saving skills. It is also an organization that encourages people to become organ donors. In 2017, the Choudhrie Family Foundation was honored by HealthCorps for their contributions that helped create awareness for the need of organ donations.

In addition to praising the medical care he received at Columbia Medical Center and the prowess of surgeon Dr. Oz, Sudhir Choudhrie credits his incredible family support to his survival. His wife Anita, whom he refers to in his book as his “soulmate and my heart’s desire,” never left his side during the months before and after his transplant. If Sudhir got discouraged, Anita lifted his spirits.

His two sons Bhanu and Dhairya, both of whom have grown to be successful businessmen, entrepreneurs and philanthropists, inspired him to continue his fight to live and encouraged him to write the book. Bhanu told his father, “We need to demystify this operation and spread the word that there is life after a heart transplant — decades of it if you’re lucky. The fact that you are a living example of someone who has been through it, who has displayed a determination to live and survive and be with your family, gives a lot of hope to people. It’s important to get that message out to as many people as you can.”

Indeed, this book sends the message that there is not just life after transplant, but a life of fulfillment. A life of entrepreneurship and philanthropy. The book is well-written with the sense of a page-turner novel.

The story of suffering, loss, a second chance at life, and the incredible love and support of all Sudhir’s family members draws readers in and makes them feel like part of the Choudhrie family.


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