INDIANAPOLIS — After spending 400 days in an Indianapolis hospital, a man received the best Christmas gift he could ever receive — a new heart.
"It was surreal," 47-year-old Omarr Gadling said, recalling the moment doctors said he would be receiving a new heart.
When the procedure was done, hospital staff and patients lined the hallways of Riley Hospital for Children to congratulate Gadling as he made his way toward the doors.
It was a long-awaited celebration for the award-winning poet, who's known as "Brother O" among his poetry peers.
In 2022, Gadling was awarded his fourth consecutive National Spoken Word Award, this time in the category of Overcoming of the Year.
He spent hours perfecting his craft while in the hospital, according to a release. He also hosted a radio show from his hospital bed called "Voices Behind the Pens" and spent time with one of the hospital's music therapists to put his poetry into music.
The release said Gadling's poetry reflects the struggles he's overcome, but also the hope he feels for the future.
As he looks toward the future, he says he's "just going to take it one step at a time." He added, "Life is a marathon. Not a sprint."
It's a quote that he said kept him going through the hard times and is now helping propel him forward.
Gadling will spend the next few weeks in Indianapolis for follow-up appointments before heading home to East Chicago, Indiana.