Living my new life.

Cherie Finneman

Transplant Recipient, North Dakota

You need a transplant (I was told in 2002). WHAT? Those words changed my life. Due to congenital heart issues, I had open heart surgery at the age of 3. I lived a fairly normal active life and stayed involved in sports/activities in grade school through college. However in 1992 I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. I began treating at Mayo Rochester and was put on the heart/lung waiting list in July 2003. In 2004 my doctor referred me to Mayo Jacksonsville. I moved there temporarily in June and I got “the call” on the afternoon August 5th. I remember exactly where I was and what time it was when I got that long awaited call.

I try to take opportunities to spread the word about organ donation and to inspire/encourage those going through the transplant process.

The year and a half on the list was a long and agonizing wait since I was a single mom and I was very worried about my 10 yr old son. What would happen to him if i didn’t make it? I was just hoping to live long enough to make it to his high school graduation. This call was my window of hope and new life. In November, after recovering from my surgery, I went back to Fargo. I had a great caregiver (my stepmom) and loving support from many family and friends. I went back to my job and my wonderful family. Now I’m happy to say I’ve been at my job for 28 years!! I was able to enjoy watching my son finish elementary and high school. I was able to turn 40 AND 50! So grateful to my organ donor and her family, I do not know who they are and I would love to meet them.

Living life well and spreading the Donate Life word. Cherie Finneman