They all have a gift – Peta

Peta – Double-lung and heart recipient from Glenn Dale, Maryland



Peta – Glenn Dale, Maryland

On June 25th, 2013, Peta will celebrate her 19th transplant anniversary.  Every day she gives thanks for her good fortune, and she marvels at how the gift of life was given to her by a total stranger.  It is hard for her to grasp why she was the lucky one to be given a second chance at life.

When she was born 57 years ago, nobody knew that she had a whole in her heart.  Although she had a marvelous and healthy childhood, and was athletic, her condition deteriorated when she was in her 20s.  At 28-years-old, Peta was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and atrial septal defect – disorders of the heart and the lungs.  Every year, she became less energetic and soon found herself fainting at inopportune moments.  When she was 36, she was told that if she did not receive a heart and lung transplant, she would die.

She was then placed on the transplant waiting list.  During this time, hospital visits and carring an oxygen tank were a regular part of her life.  She had continuous pain in her body and extreme difficulty breathing.  She could not walk 50 steps without stopping for breath.  Twenty-two months after being placed on the list, she received her heart and double lung transplant.  Only three days after her transplant, she was out of the ICU, walking around and able to perform many tasks.  Two weeks later, she was home.

Peta’s donor died tragically when he was just a teenager.  His family decided generously to donate his organs so that others, like Peta, might live. 

Every year since her transplant, she and her husband hold a big celebration of life party on her “transplant birthday,” or the day she received her transplant.  After corresponding with her donor’s mother, Peta was able to meet her in time for her 9th transplant birthday.  She returned a few years later for Peta’s 17th transplant birthday.   

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