CHARLOTTE -- The 8-year-old son of retired Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen went home on Wednesday less than two weeks after successfully undergoing a heart transplant.
But before TJ left Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, he fulfilled a promise made to his parents to ring the bell that patients often do when they are released.
As the elder Olsen has done throughout the process, he shared the moment on social media.
"Ever since TJ was admitted into the ICU a little less than a month ago in heart failure, he would lay in bed at night and talk about 'ringing the bell!'" Olsen wrote on Instagram. "We didn't know what that journey would look like or how long it would take, but he promised (his mother) @karenolsen29 and I that he was going to do it."
TJ was born in 2012 with a congenital heart defect that required four surgeries, including three open heart procedures and the installation of a pacemaker. The transplant was needed when his heart began to fail.
"TJ's positive attitude and selflessness throughout has been an inspiration to us all," Olsen continued in his message. "Never did he feel sorry for himself or play the victim. All he did was talk about what the future held and the things he looked forward to doing."
As he has throughout the process that began with a May 24 post in which Olsen wrote TJ's "heart is reaching its end," Olsen thanked everyone for their support, prayers and words of encouragement.
"Today we 'rang the bell,' and for the first time our family (is) whole again," Olsen wrote.
Son of former Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen rings bell to leave hospital after heart transplant
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