Young mother receives life saving heart transplant

SIERRA STAR | Debbie Sebastian

Alyse (Stolp) Ornelas is a 29-year-old wife, mother of three-year-old Emaley, high school teacher, Yosemite High School alumni and as of March 2, the recipient of a transplanted heart.

At 9 p.m. on Feb. 28, the last day of “Heart Health Month,” the call came. “It’s GO TIME...sort of,” Alyse said on “I received ‘the call’ from Stanford hospital last night. My surgeon. . .calmly informs me that an acceptable heart offer has come through.” He also informed her there were several more tests to be done that might make the transplant a “NO GO.”

“I know I’ve had other offers in the past, but this was the first one presented to me. Of course, it’s not even a decision on whether or not to go. We grab our things, kiss our sleeping daughter goodbye, fill up the gas tank, and [husband] Michael and I were on our way. Our second hurdle: what do we tell people, our family? How do we calm our own nerves and anxiety? How do we not get our hopes up?”

Finally, on March 1, the Ornelas couple knows the donor heart is a match and surgery is scheduled for the next day. At 6:30 a.m. on March 2, the first incision is made for the transplant and after a seven-hour surgery, family receive the call that the donor heart has been successfully transplanted.

Path to a new heart

It has been a battle for the warrior named Alyse. Last October, a 23-week pregnant, Alyse checked herself into the emergency room at Clovis Community Medical Center. She was out of breath and suffering from pain in her left shoulder. While at the hospital, she was told the news no mother wants to hear - her unborn baby had died. Continue reading

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