Written by | Kay Quinn | KSDK Channel 5
Ferguson, MO (KSDK) - She captured hearts all over the bi-state region and the world when she was in desperate need of a heart transplant last spring. One year later, 25-year-old Megan Moss of Ferguson is the picture of health, thanking friends and strangers for their prayers.
But there's one woman in particular who Megan thinks about every day.
Flowers, chocolates and hugs are just a few of the tokens showered on 25-year-old Megan Moss as she recently celebrated her first full year with a new heart.
"I cannot thank St. Louis and my family and my friends enough," says Moss.
But the best gift at this party is beating right inside Megan's chest.
"A lot of times I fall asleep with my hand over my chest so I can feel the heart beating," says Moss.
On Easter weekend 2010, Megan lay dying of congestive heart failure in the ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
"It's very exciting being at the top of the list, but also kind of discouraging because I've been waiting so long at the top of the list," Moss said the weekend before her transplant.
As word of Megan's condition and status at the top of the list spread, hundreds of e-mails and well wishes began pouring in from all over the world.
"I've looked at them since," says Moss. "I've sat in my bedroom and cried reading e-mails from people I know and love and from people I don't know."
That same weekend, in an unknown city, another young woman lay dying. Her family decided to donate her organs. Moss got the woman's heart early in the morning of April 18, 2010.
One year later, she's still humbled by the gift.
"That's the day that she had her last moments on this earth," says Moss, "and then her family, I don't know if they had their last moments with her. I don't know if they were able to hold her hand and kiss her forehead and say goodbye. I don't know all of that and it just touches me so much that through that they chose to give to someone that they don't know and they don't care about."
In the days and weeks after the transplant, Moss had to relearn how to walk, even feed herself.
"I have always told people that I think the hardest time was recovery," says Moss. "I feel like I could go through heart failure again, but the recovery side was definitely harder and I don't think people realize that."
And she wrestles with knowing that for her to live, another young woman had to die.
"Sometimes I have felt that it's unfair," says Moss, "that she's there and I'm not but I know that's life, you know?"
Over the past year, so many of Megan's wishes have come true.
She's back at work at the Ritz Carlton, and taking a trip to the beach with her family, which was something her parents promised back when she was in the ICU.
And she knows her future will include giving back to her family and the community who were there when she needed them the most.
"I cannot thank St. Louis and my family and my friends enough," says Moss. "I know my family and friends were there every day of every moment. Just the fact that people I didn't know were backing me up and rooting for me helped me in a huge, huge way."
Moss says she plans to spend the rest of her life speaking publicly about the gift that is organ donation.
She'd also like to meet her donor's family one day.