Mom, heart recipient become dance partners after donor's gift

WKOW | Dani Maxwell

PEWAUKEE (WKOW) -- In a lively studio in Pewaukee, Janet Ramsey and Jack Eigel meet for their dance lesson with instructor Catey Rice at Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Jack says, "Janet's in Madison, I'm in Milwaukee, so we chose Pewaukee as a kind of halfway point. I got the better end of the deal," he laughs.

Anyone can tell they're great friends the way they look at each other, the way they laugh together and the way they dance together. But this is no ordinary friendship. And this story has no ordinary beginning.

In the summer of 2009, Jack's heart had started to fail. But he had been given a second chance at life. Janet's son, Chris, had given it with the donation of his heart at UW Hospital in Madison. Interestingly, Jack's transplant made national headlines because he was born with a condition called Situs Inversus Totalis, where all his organs are reversed in his body. While it didn't cause his need for a heart transplant it did present complications for surgeons. Ultimately, the doctors at UW were able to do the transplant. "My heart is now on the normal side, but it's flipped," Jack says.

Janet's son Chris, meanwhile, was waiting to save lives. "He was 19, he became depressed and committed suicide." Janet said Chris actually lived for five days and they were able to resuscitate him, but eventually they couldn't stop the swelling on his brain. Continue reading

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