Heart Angel

Brenda Sweeney

Transplant Recipient, North Dakota

  • Heart, February 16, 2019, Mayo Clinic

Pneumonia saved my life.

I no longer have any devices keeping me alive. I have been set free. I am able to look forward to the future and not just live day to day.

An emergency room visit in March 2015 was the beginning of the life-changing journey that turned me into a person that only lived mechanically because of an LVAD (left ventricular assist device), pacemaker and defibrillator due to end-stage heart failure. I had a driveline that exited my body that was hooked up to a controller and two batteries. That was a nine pound baby that never left my body.

You had to put your mind in a different place when you realized that these “devices” were keeping you alive and at any time they could malfunction…and they did malfunction. I always told myself I would never complain about these devices no matter how much they “hurt” me as they were keeping me alive. A person lives in a fight or flight mode 24-7 year after year waiting for the new heart. While living in the hospital, my Gift of Life happened in February 2019.

It is hard to put into words other than to say a person has so much gratitude for an individual that you only hope and pray that some day you will be able to connect with the family.

Forever grateful to my donor family. I will always "Honor the Organ".