A Servant-Hearted Man Receives a New Heart

Jim Chaney

Jim Chaney is one of those rare people who is always looking out for others. An industrial mechanic by trade, Jim owns Chaney Enterprises and truly is a jack of all trades. But after suffering a heart attack, Jim was told that there was significant damage to his heart. He and his wife Robin traveled 150 miles from their home in White Pigeon, Michigan to see a heart specialist in Indianapolis on a regular basis. They learned that Jim, 60, would need a heart transplant.

During their frequent trips to Indianapolis, Jim and Robin found a home-away-from-home at Fair Haven. Sometimes they came for appointments and would stay overnight or for several days; other times, Jim would be admitted to the hospital for a week or more.

It wasn’t long before Jim and Robin became more like family than guests! With Robin’s broad smile and friendly nature, she was often befriending other new guests. Jim was always looking for a way to put his handy skills to work and help out. After a heavy rain late one evening, water leaked into their guest room and into other spots in the building. Jim didn’t waste any time getting to work patching the roof and repairing drywall! On other visits to Indianapolis, Jim brought a couple of his employees to help with other needed maintenance work at Fair Haven. True to his servant nature, Jim enjoys serving “my family,” as he calls the Fair Haven staff and volunteers.

Says Jim’s wife Robin, “Jim and I feel very blessed by having the opportunity to stay at Fair Haven, so Jim thought, ‘There’s got to be something I can do to help.’”

Jim enjoys time with John (right) in Fair Haven’s living area. Jim stayed in Indianapolis for several weeks while recovering from a heart transplant, and John’s wife was hospitalized while battling cancer. Both found refuge in their newfound friendship.

Jim adds, “Paying it forward, it’s just what I do.”

But Jim’s heart condition continued to deteriorate. By the late fall of 2023, Jim was hospitalized and receiving around-the-clock care. No longer could he care for others in the ways he had grown accustomed to. In fact, he was told that he would not even be able to leave the hospital until he received a new heart.

On November 21, the miracle finally came. This servant-hearted man was on the receiving end when he was blessed with a new heart.

He explains, “My old heart was so bad, so swollen from the damage, it was twice the size of my new heart. My new one is a normal size.” Robin shared how it’s important that Jim’s new heart “play nice” with his immune system, settle into his chest cavity, and eventually become one with the rest of his body.

After his transplant, Jim spent almost two months going to intensive daily rehabilitation therapy to strengthen his new heart. Again, he stayed at Fair Haven, with Robin always by his side to help and encourage him. It was a challenging period. Jim was readmitted to the hospital several times, but he persevered. The day finally came when Jim was released to return home to Michigan. It was bittersweet to say goodbye, but the couple returns to Fair Haven regularly for Jim’s follow-up appointments.

Jim and Robin describe Fair Haven as a “home away from home with all the love and support you will ever need. It’s a family, a safe haven, a place for prayer and peace. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Having a home-away-from-home at Fair Haven makes such a difference for families like Jim and Robin as they battle a serious illness. Bring hope to families like theirs today with your gift of support.