Sebastian’s Second Chance


Sebastian Hitzig

Sebastian is a very new member in the Dawg Nation family, but has fit right in. At 23 years old while walking at his house, he stepped on a toothpick.  Although he pulled it out, it caused a massive staph infection, which ended up in his heart. 8 months later, he was brought to the hospital and his family was told he had contracted bacterial endocarditis. Sebastian spent 93 days in the hospital in and out of consciousness, and during his stay he had a 14-hour open heart surgery to replace his heart valve, two strokes and the insertion of a pacemaker.

A year later while working out in the gym, Sebastian suffered cardiac arrest. Bystanders performed CPR and he was brought to a hospital where an automated internal defibrillator was put in his heart. 

As time went on his heart grew weaker and nearly passed away as his heart was failing. After waiting 180 days, Sebastian got a heart transplant on January 4th 2019. 

After accidentally meeting Patrick Donnelly in mid-April getting their hearts checked on, Sebastian would begin to get back on the ice with the Hockey Heals group that skates Wednesday mornings at the Edge Ice Arena. 

“I had heard about Sebastian from Marty and his brother Nigel. His wife had reached out to Dawg Nation so I knew a little bit about him and his story, but had not had the chance to meet him. I tried adding him on social media to get to know him better while waiting at the doctor’s office. All of a sudden I heard the receptionist call ‘Sebastian’ and my eyes lit up. I wasn’t sure if it was him or not, but then I saw his wife. I got up and introduced myself to her and the rest is history. It has been great getting to know Sebastian and learn his story,” Donnelly said. 

Sebastian is uplifted by the camaraderie that hockey brings to his life. He is thankful for his donor and family and is extremely excited to be making his Dawg Bowl debut as one of the FIVE survivors with a heart transplant at the survivor game. 

The 13th annual DAWG Bowl tournament will be held June 21-25, 2023 at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, Colorado. The Survivor Game will be on Saturday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

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