Reaching Great Heights After Heart Transplant

HEALTHLINE | American Heart Association

Kelly Perkins and her husband scaled some of the world’s tallest peaks after her surgery. Now, the couple is helping get the word out on heart transplants.


Kelly Perkins received a new heart in 1995 and could have settled into a quiet life, relishing her renewed health and extra years without a lot of excitement.

But that was never the plan for her, or her husband Craig.

“We wanted to do something remarkable,” she said.

Promise kept.

In the two decades since, Perkins has become an inspiration in the transplant community and beyond.

She’s climbed mountains on five continents and told her story around the world to motivate people to make the most of their lives – and donate their organs to help others do the same.

“The body is so resilient,” she said. “I wanted to shake the image of being sick and show what a transplanted heart can do.”

Craig said the couple is grateful to the donor “for allowing us to live our lives to the fullest. If Kelly can be a beacon for others who are faced with challenges in their lives, we’d like that.”

The latest episode in the Perkins’ story is slated for late this year, when they will travel to South Africa to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant. Continue reading
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