When I was born on March 28, 2000 at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, I was so blue that I was rushed to the NICU. My mother never even got to hold me. We would learn that I had a congenital heart condition called Ebstein’s Anomaly. The disease is rare, occurring in less 1% of all heart disease.
After weeks in the hospital, a heart rhythm medication began to help, and I was released. Six years later, I began to have a rhythm disturbance, called SVT that often landed me in the hospital. As years went by, I would begin to have SVT episodes more frequently which meant more emergency room visits.
With these visits, breathing challenges and many other scary symptoms, my doctor knew it was time to be placed on the transplant list. I was listed as status 1A, the highest you can be.
Thankfully, a donor gave me a heart and the gift of life. My surgery was on a Sunday, March 18, a day that we now celebrate as a second birthday. After I woke up from my heart transplant, my first words were, “Thank you, God!” as I sat up for the first time after the successful surgery. The nurses even printed out a poster with my new birthday, March 18, 2012, that hung on my hospital door.
If it wasn’t for my donor, I would not be here. Organ donation has allowed me to get my driver’s license, graduate high school, attend college, and so many more incredible life moments to come.
There is no more worrying about SVT and emergency room visits. No more annoying cough. No more seeing black spots and feeling like passing out during exercise. No more purple legs. Every day is a blessing!
I created this drawing of me and my donor in honor of him. Every year, I place this drawing on his gravesite. Thank you is simply not enough.