The family’s journey to a new heart began last week when Olsen announced on social media that a match had been found.
“Today is a day of mixed emotions. A day we have prayed for has arrived,” he wrote, including an image of T.J. with him and his wife, Kara. “We were alerted last night that there was a donor match for T.J. to receive his heart transplant. Walking our little boy, with tears of hope and fear in our eyes, was one of the toughest moments of our lives. We ask for everyone’s prayers for T.J. and his amazing team of doctors and nurses. T.J. has a long road ahead of him but today is a huge step forward. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the outpouring of support through this entire journey.”
By Friday evening, surgery had been completed and Olsen added: “We also want to ask that everyone takes a second to pray for our donor family. Their selflessness during a tragic time gave our boy a chance at life. We don’t know who they are, but we will forever be grateful for everyday we get to have with T.J.”
T.J. had “faced serious heart issues since birth,” Olsen, who retired in January and will join the Fox Sports NFL team this season, wrote last month, adding that his son had undergone three open-heart surgeries and had used “a modified heart for his first 8 years of life.” However, by the end of May, he wrote that his heart was “reaching its end” and the wait was underway.