On August 30, 1978, Robert “Tony” Huesman underwent a life-saving heart transplant operation at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. Since the operation, he has returned to work full-time and leads a very active life. During the workweek, Huesman now manages a local sporting goods store in Dayton. What is noteworthy, however, is what he does with the remainder of his time.
A 22-year transplant survivor, Huesman helped co-found TenderHearts®, a support group for parents of children with heart problems. After working for several months with Tenderhearts®, it became clear to him that there were very few children’s books available that deal with good heart health. At that time, Huesman undertook the task of writing a series of children’s books designed to help teach youngsters about good heart health.
In 1994, Huesman completed two children’s books, Heart Smart and There Are Some Things More Important Than Baseball. In 1998, he wrote His Only Hope…a Child’s View of Organ Donation. These books have been illustrated and widely published.
Through his fundraising efforts, Huesman has raised more than $400,000 for “Health Heart” education programs. He is also a member of the speakers’ bureau of the Dayton Area Heart & Cancer Association. Huesman also founded and chairs the Huesman Heart Foundation. The foundation has the stated mission to commit to the prevention of heart disease through programs that are designed to educate, foster health choices, deepen the understanding of heart disease, and promote and support good heart health.
Each Friday, Huesman lectures about cardiac health to students in the Greater Dayton area. In addition to his efforts in raising funds, authoring books and acting as a speaker on the issues of heart health and organ donation, Huesman is a dedicated member of Knights of Columbus Maria-Joseph Council in Dayton, Ohio.