After chemotherapy for breast cancer, my heart weakened. When I was placed on the transplant waiting list, I was told there was little chance I would be selected because my blood type was not common and because I was older than other candidates. I was shocked to receive a call on September 3, 2011 while I waited for my grandchildren at the bottom of a roller coaster in New Jersey! My husband and I hustled to the car and drove nonstop to Washington Hospital Center in DC.
After my transplant, my husband and I moved to North Carolina to be close to our grandchildren. Through a response to my letter, I found out that my heart donor was a twenty-six year old single mother from Kenly, NC, just forty five minutes from our new home in Greenville. Over the last several years I have become a close friend of my donor’s mother, Jo Whitman. My husband and I created a scholarship at East Carolina University for the child of an organ donor. This year, we have our second recipient, a freshman nursing student whose mother was a nurse.
I started working on a book about my experience while I was in the hospital and it has now been published. One hundred percent of the profits will go to the Shelly Whitman Scholarship at East Carolina University for the child of an organ donor.