Heart transplant patient shares her story to raise awareness for organ donation

From left, Kelly George and Tracy Pope pose for a photo during an event to raise awareness for Donate Life Month at Valley Regional Hospital on Friday, April 14. George underwent a heart transplant in December 2009. — TORY JONES DENIS
CLAREMONT — Kelly George of Enfield was at work at Kimball Union Academy, seven years ago, when she received word that a heart was available. Her transplant took place on Dec. 3, 2009, the anniversary of the first human heart transplant in 1967.

Since her recovery, she has lived her life more fully than she could before — snorkeling, traveling, even celebrating the fourth anniversary of her transplant by watching the sunrise from atop an 11,000-foot volcano in Maui.

“I feel great. I hike, ski, live a full life,” George said on Friday, April 14 at Valley Regional Hospital (VRH), where she spent part of the day sharing her story with the community and staff, and helping raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.

Before the transplant, it had been a long time since she could be active, due to her heart only functioning at a fraction of what it should be.

“When you have heart failure, you don’t have the capacity to do things,” she said.

George said that she has had heart disease all her life, and developed heart failure in her early 40s. Continue reading
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