New heart brings second chance and new life to local woman The gift of life

Annemarie and Dr. Fricker at her graduation. (Photo: Submitted)
FIRST COAST NEWS | Heather Crawford

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—On average, 22 people a day die waiting for a transplant.

For one young woman, that statistic hits very close to home. Without a new heart, she knew she likely wouldn't survive.

On Friday she shared her story at the Go Red for Women First Coast Luncheon at Florida Blue.

"It began as a regular day," recalled Annemarie Ward. "I was 7 years old and my mom needed me to walk the dogs."

That day, without warning, Annemarie's childhood changed forever.

"She looked back and I just passed out - just blue faced on the street, and in that moment, she entered into sheer panic and didn't know what was going on," said Annemarie.

Her mother watched as her then 7-year-old daughter was taken away in a helicopter. At the hospital, her parents got news that no mom or dad ever wants to hear.

"They thought I was going to pass away that evening," Annemarie said. "Pass away, or that I would be mentally challenged for the rest of my life. They said, 'this child, from what she has endured, will have complications forever. She will never be a normal kid.'" Continue reading
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