I have been fortunate enough to receive the gift of life three times, once from my father as a living donor, and twice from deceased organ donors. I have been blessed with 22 wonderful additional years of life and would very much enjoy sharing my story with others to assist in getting others to be willing participants in sharing life with others that are in great need of a gift to survive. My transplant anniversary is November 12, also my older sister's birthday. I feel like I have been called to share my experience to positively affect others. Please donate to assist others to live on and continue to do good works to help others.
[lightbox link="http://www.trustforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Hunter-with-dogsmall.jpg" thumb="http://www.trustforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Hunter-with-dogsmall-300x200.jpg" width="300" align="center" title="Hunter with dogsmall" frame="true" icon="image"]Adam and I are originally from Mayfield, Kentucky. We married in 2008, and in November 2011, we had a beautiful baby boy, Hunter. When I was younger, I had been told it would be very hard for me to ever conceive, but when we found out we were pregnant with Hunter, we knew he was our blessing, our little miracle. Little did we know that he would have any health problems, the OB/GYN never spotted that Hunter would be born with a Congenital Heart Defect. Hunter was born without his pulmonary artery and had a large hole between his left and right ventricles. My husband is in the Army and we are stationed at Fort Bragg, so the hospital where Hunter was born, sent him to Duke Hospital immediately after they discovered his issues, to the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. He had an open-heart surgery at 9 days old, which would sustain him until they could put him through a more complex surgery to do a complete repair on his heart. They said that going under a major open-heart surgery under one month old increases your risk of complications, so if they could hold off and give Hunter a chance to get larger, the better it would be. He finally got out of the hospital when he was 29 days old. At 4 ½ months we took Hunter in for his second surgery and it went extremely well. We would go for check ups at the Cardiologists regularly to insure everything was still going well. Hunter was always healthy looking and no one could ever believe that he had a heart condition. He was a very happy boy, he loved being outdoors on his little four-wheeler and going on walks with mom and dad. I was lucky to be a stay at home mom and had a lot of time to spoil him. I would always make him whatever food he wanted, give him everything he wanted and we would play all day long. When his daddy would come in through the door, Hunter’s face would light up every single time. If he heard Adam’s truck pull up, he would be rushing to the door to greet him saying “dada dada dada!” Around the first part of the year, Hunter didn’t really gain much weight and by late February his activity level and appetite had decreased. The middle of March, he got to where he would hardly eat at all, and then got sick. He only wanted me to hold him, which was very weird because this happy go lucky boy was the ultimate Daddy’s Boy! We took him to the hospital and they had diagnosed him with pneumonia, but one of his Cardiologists said his heart function had decreased. We scheduled to have a heart cath completed, which would give good information about what was actually going on. The Duke team decided Hunter was in heart failure and an [...]