Heart Transplant Recipient Urges Donor Registration

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Two years ago this month, Brendalyn Rose was told she had cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is a serious disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn't work as well as it should. There may be multiple causes, including viral infections. Rose was told that a viral infection was the most likely cause of her condition.

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Life has become happily normal for heart transplant recipient Brendalyn Reed Rose, second from left. She received a new heart on Aug. 27, 2007 and was helped through her recovery by her mother, Carol Reed, far right, and her children Cierra Rose, far left and A.J. Rose.

That diagnosis led to a steady decline in her health. She was unable to respond to the medicines she was prescribed.

On her 40th birthday she was told she had only a year to live unless she received a heart transplant.

Eventually she went into hospice care.

"I was told in June 2007 there was nothing more medically they could do for me except give me morphine for the pain. At this time I was on oxygen and used a wheelchair," Rose said.

"My father, Ron Reed, didn't accept that for his little girl. He wrote to the Mayo Clinic and got me an appointment. We went down on July 6, 2007. They saw me and kept me as soon as they saw how bad off I was."

She stayed in the Mayo Clinic for two weeks getting tests. Surgery was done on her leg to repair the artery that had been ruined when her heart had been scoped in April 2006.

"I thought the pain I was in (with my leg) was ‘normal.' The Mayo Clinic fixed everything and gave me hope again. I am so grateful to all of the doctors and nursing staff there."

Rose's father died one week after his 69th birthday in 2007 and she received her heart transplant two weeks to the day after he was buried -- and just four days after she was listed for the surgery.

"We all believe Dad was watching over things up there and made sure things fell into place. If you knew my dad at all, you know what I mean."

Rose had the 27th heart transplant at Mayo here in Arizona on Aug. 27, 2007.

She wants to provide a memorial of thanks to her donor and her donor's family. She also wants to raise awareness for organ donation.

"Indicating you want to be a donor on your driver's license is only the first step to making your organs available for donation," she explained.

Rose said the best way to make sure you become a donor is to register with the Donor Network of Arizona. The form can be downloaded from www.DonateLifeAZ.org and additional information is available by calling 800-943-6667.

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