New heart gives new life to local transplant patient


by Tiffany Tarpley

MILWAUKEE--A local woman is enjoying life after being so close to death years ago.  Sandy Raisanen suffered a stroke, heart attack and kidney failure at the age of 47.

In 2010, CBS 58 profiled Raisanen soon after doctors at Aurora Saint Luke's Medical Center attached a mechanical and portable battery operated pump to Sandy's heart while she awaited a transplant.

"It helped me survive until I could finally get a heart transplant," said Raisanen.

After receiving the transplant she's able to do simple tasks many take for granted, like cooking, taking showers on her own and grocery shopping.

Raisanen plans to travel more and eventually take a vacation to Hawaii.  She said she was given a second chance at life, a life she said is 'very good.'

"I'm able to do a lot more by myself than I was never used to being able to do before the heart," she said.

Sandy and her physician, Dr. Frank Downey emphasized the importance of organ donation.

"The way we get to the point of Sandy sitting here and talking to you is with organ donation," said Downey.

If you're interested in learning more about organ donation you can log on to




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