Making Gift Earrings in Rochester Helped Keep Transplant Patient Strong
...to create something instead of being scared about things… it is sort of like a meditative state...
Today, an uplifting story from right here in Rochester Minnesota, about one heart transplant patient's life that was saved because she made...earrings.
This story is told by the Gift of Life Transplant House -
Meet Katie. Katie is a guest of Gift of Life Transplant House and is a Heart Transplant Recipient.
During Katie’s transplant chapter, she found peace, comfort & hope in creating earrings. What started as part of the Art @ The Bedside Program with Robin while she was at Saint Mary’s waiting for a life-saving heart transplant, quickly turned into a form of therapy to keep her mind busy during what was one of the best & worst seasons of life.
Katie was born with congenital heart disease - aortic stenosis. Although she knew in the back of her mind that a heart transplant may be a part of her life journey for her “old Buick heart” (after 6 previous surgeries) she did not expect to hear the words “you are in total heart failure” at her check-up.
Click PLAY to hear about the Gift of Life with Mary and Mo, from the Gift of Life Transplant House on the air.
In March of 2021, Katie was officially listed for a heart transplant and in February of 2022 was when she began her stay at Saint Marys. For the next 3 months, she did what she could to stay busy. She started making clay earrings and found joy in gifting them to her nurses.
“To create something instead of being scared about things… it is sort of like a meditative state. It gives me purpose again which is important because it could be so easy to get lost," said Katie.
Katie received her new heart on May 15, 2022, and soon came to stay at Gift of Life Transplant House during her recovery.
Your normal is normal to you.... and then you get this new organ. It's mind-blowing. I can breathe.
It is no secret that post-transplant comes with many mental and physical challenges. There is also so much renewed hope, “you have this new opportunity to live, but you can’t live like before. So you get to reinvent yourself.”
She is excited for the new life she will be giving her donor's heart, and the life her new heart will be giving her. She will continue adding beauty and color to the world by creating earrings.
For the first time in her life, Katie is able to walk up a hill, and walk on a treadmill without stopping to breathe. Her new heart has created a new normal of which the gratitude cannot be captured in words. "Your normal is normal to you.... and then you get this new organ. It's mind-blowing. I can breathe."
See you less.
Katie is also grateful for the connections, support, healing and community she has found at Gift of Life Transplant House. During her stay, she has continued to make beautiful clay earrings. She recently surpassed 100 sales and is working on a website to keep up with the growing demand! We encourage you to check out her earrings and support her by following her on Instagram.
Thank you, Katie, for sharing your vibrant attitude & your transplant chapter. See you less.
"See you less" is one of my favorite things to say, it marks the moment when you really do hope you never HAVE to see the transplant recipient again. They signed their new lease on life and the greatest thing they can do is forget all about the hard times...maybe even kinda forget you had a transplant.
Thank you for being our Guest Story Teller today, Gift of Life Transplant House. Just one story from a home filled with stories.
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