Give the gift of life- organ recipient tells her story
Zierke shared that story live on the CBS 58 News at Four. At 16, she was diagnosed with a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscles to thicken so that heart can't function well. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is genetic-- her grandparents, mom, and brother all had it. Her mom had a heart transplant in 1997 and unfortunately passed away at age 43. Her brother has had two heart transplants.
By the time Zierke was in her late 20's, she couldn't walk without getting sick and needed a transplant. She waited four months for a transplant, and still remembers the day she got the call to notify her that she would get a new heart. \"I fell to my knees. I thought about the family who gave me the opportunity for hope for a future,\" she said.
Dr. Frank Downey performed the successful operation at Aurora St. Luke's on September 11, 2012. He says the operation is not becoming more common. \"It's been the same number of transplants performed in a year's time because of the lack of donors,\" Downey said.
Two-and-a-half years later, Zierke is studying cardio stenography at Carroll University in Waukesha. \"Hopefully to work with people who are enduring what I did,\" Zierke said.More than 123-thousand people are waiting for an organ. To learn more about organ donation, click here.
For part 2 of the interview click here.