Andrew DeLaPena looks back at the life Fargo gave him

Published: Sep. 7, 2018 at 6:09 PM CDT
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There's a celebration going on this weekend in Fargo to mark an incredible event 32 years ago.

An F4 fighter jet with the Air National Guard unit carried a little baby's heart in a red cooler.

The trip was made in the middle of a white out blizzard and wound up saving the life of Andrew DeLaPena.

Andrew DeLaPena will tell you, he's had an incredible life, including his recent marriage to the love of his life, Leoni.

"It's such an amazing, incredible story," says Leoni Fohr, wife of Andrew.

Andrew says North Dakota is literally a part of him, and he's glad to share his second home with his new wife, who's here for the first time.

"I would have no other connection of Fargo, North Dakota except for this, but every time I've come here I've had a great time," says Andrew DeLaPena.

Andrew told Leoni on their first day about his amazing heart transplant, including the little boy, who died here in Fargo, the race to get the heart to California.

The health challenges, including two battles with cancer, that he would face later in life.

"It's something I mean I've never heard something like that at all and it's a story but it's also his life," says Leoni.

Leoni says hearing this story helped in developing her love for Andrew..

"Just look at him," laughs Leoni.

It's been 32 years, and Andrew is still healthy as can be.

"Who knows, I might get 90 or a 100 or something," says Leoni.

Andrew has made the most out of life his life. He's traveled to several countries, learned many languages and has tried to better the lives of those he's come in contact with.

It's a lifestyle that he says Fargo gave him.

"I've done muay thai kick boxing, and I'm an avid surfer. I even take my paddle board and go stand up paddling on the canals in Amsterdam," says DeLaPena.

And there's no slowing him down. Andrew and Leoni say they plan to travel and experience more of what life has to offer.

A tribute to those, who played a role in that life sustaining flight 32 years ago.

Andrew will be speaking at an event this weekend at the Fargo Air Museum, which is slated for tomorrow beginning at 4:30.