UK Transplant Patient Grateful For a very Special Gift By Allison Perry LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2018) – The evening of June 21, while Emma Sue Mast was anxiously waiting to receive a new heart, she got a sign that immediately put her at ease: a rainbow, visible from her hospital room, that stayed alight for hours. “Donate Life’s theme this year was ‘Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,’” Mast said. “I took that as a sign that everything was going to be all right.” Prior to noticing her rainbow, Mast – who also turned 37 years old that day – had just received the best present she could have asked for — a phone call letting her know that she was about to get a second chance at life via a heart transplant. The mother of two from Hawesville, Kentucky, had spent more than a decade battling serious heart problems. After her second son was born in 2006, she started noticing some significant changes in her health, including shortness of breath, heart palpitations and tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate), and swelling in her legs and feet. By the following April, the issues became too severe to ignore. “I couldn’t wait to go to bed at night; I was just so tired,” she said. “I was a busy mom, but I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t keep up.” A visit to her local family doctor in Stanford showed an abnormal rhythm and an enlarged heart. Her physician referred her to cardiac specialists in Louisville, who first tried medications to control her arrhythmia. When that failed, Mast had an internal defibrillator (ICD) implanted in 2007. ICDs continuously monitor heart rhythm and provide a shock if needed – an event Mast said she experienced three separate times. “It just knocked me to the ground,” she said. Over the next decade, Mast would undergo an ICD replacement, an ICD repair, and more medication in an effort to save her failing heart. But as her heart continued to enlarge, she began experiencing longer episodes of tachycardia and frequent premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) – an extra heartbeat that begins in one of the lower chambers of the heart and causes the “fluttering” feeling of a skipped heartbeat in the chest. Earlier this year, her cardiologist then referred her to UK HealthCare for a heart transplant. For Mast, simple everyday tasks – like housework and going out to shop – had become very difficult as her heart weakened. “I had mixed feelings about getting a transplant,” Mast said. “My thoughts were that somebody has to die in order for me to get a new heart. But I was also looking forward to having the chance to have a better quality of life.” Mast was evaluated by UK Gill Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Andrew Kolodziej, who noted that while they first tried to optimize her medical therapy, her body was unable to tolerate the medication. Due to her worsening ventricular arrythmias and extreme weakness, she was listed for transplant shortly after her [...]
I received a heart transplant on March 11, 2004, after several years of ongoing heart problems that threatened my life. It all began in 2001 when a heart attack damaged not only my heart, but also the muscle around it. Through the years, I received multiple stints, a triple bypass, a new mitral valve, and a pacemaker, all in an effort to restore my health. However, when none of these provided any long term solutions, the doctors began to discuss a transplant. Though I had no other medical problems, my age became an obstacle in the process. At the time, I was 68 years old and the cut off age for a heart transplant was 65. The hospital where I was receiving treatment at the time refused to go forward with the transplant for this very reason. However after my doctor presented my case to medical staff at Cleveland Clinic, they agreed that I would be a good candidate for a new heart. I was immediately transferred to their facility. After waiting for a couple of weeks, a heart became available. Unfortunately I started running a high fever and was unable to have the surgery. Though feeling very disappointed and confused, I continued to have faith that God was in control. My wife, Peggy, reminded me that there must be a reason that I didn't get that heart, and God had the perfect heart waiting for me. That is exactly what happened! Less than two weeks later, I received the perfect match! In the thirteen years after the transplant, I have had no signs of rejection or difficulties with my heart. If the rest of my body worked as well as my heart, I'd be in great shape! Though I have never known the source of this gift, I will be forever grateful to a family whose generosity exceeded their grief. They truly have given me life!
James was born on August 24, 2015 with a congenital heart defect that was very complex. They didn't know of he'd even make it to birth! Thankfully he came out crying however, they sent him to the NICU where he would later go into cardiac arrest. That's when the doctors at Monroe Carroll Jr. Children's Hospital decided his best option was a heart transplant. We waited and watched our baby boy lie in his bed with tubes and wires covering his tiny body; then the call we hoped for came! On October 7, 2015 James was going to receive his brand new heart! It saddened us to think of another parents grief over their child but we were so thankful they let their sweet baby be a donor! They saved our James! Today James is a healthy 7 month old boy! He's as happy as ever and doing amazing! Organ donation saved our child by the grace of God! You never know whose life you could be saving one day by simply saying yes! I believe every one should register to be an organ donor because you can save lives and leave something extraordinary to a family who has lost hope during a difficult time. I know me and my family will always be donors, we've seen the miracle of organ donation and will never forget it!
DeWayne Rapier was a Hancock County Graduate. He had two children, Josh & Leah. He died at age 20, but saved & healed lives through the gift of donation. He was a hero.
Jason loved his daughter, Kentucky basketball and St. Louis Cardinal baseball. He was always loyal to his family, with a big heart for those in need. Jason had discussed organ donation with his family, showing a strong desire for using his ability to help others, in the event something should happen. Jason died during surgery after a terrible automobile accident on Easter Sunday 2007. Knowing that a part of our precious Jason will live on through donation, has somehow helped us through this difficult journey of life without him. There are two recipients that have been helped because of our Jason's loving heart and soul. Because of his generous and loving nature, Jason has inspired several others that we know of, to sign the registry for organ and tissue donation. He is our Hero. -Shared by Jason's Mother, Danita New Post from Danita Bozarth 11/13/2014 Our Jason was twenty years old when we lost him from injuries he sustained in an automibile accident in April of 2007. Jason and I had discussed donation with me initiating the conversation. I wanted him to know my wishes never dreaming it would me that would be the one left behind to make that final decision. But it was a easy decision during an extremely trying time because during our conversation, Jason let me know he's wishes. Jason has an eight year old daughter and only recently I explained to her the wonderful, selfless gift her father had left behind. She is a very loving little girl who has taken her piggy bank money and gave it for cancer research. She's sold lemonade with those proceeds going to cancer research. She said to me one day " mamaw I'm alot like my dad, aren't I. I said yes baby you are, but how do you mean? She said, because I want to help people too. I was at a lose for words. At 8 she understood.
Little Allie Roberts was only seven months old when a tragic automobile accident took her life in Hancock County in November, 2004. Her family made the momentous decision that she would be an organ and tissue donor in order to save other infants’ lives. The family, lead by Allie’s mother Ashley Bolen and grandmother Pam Bolen, continues to remember and honor that decision by actively supporting organ donation in their community and by volunteering as a group to staff the Trust For Life booth at the State Fair each year. Grandmother Pam wrote and published a picture book about her granddaughter and the decision that seems to have helped the family in their grief. The book, “Allie’s Purpose”.