Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Heart Like Mine - Six Year Anniversary Today

July 13, 2005 - Dr. Icenogle: "You need a heart today but it will be 9 months to a year before we get you one. And you don't have that long."

July 14, 2005 - Dr. Icenogle: "Sign on the dotted line." Me: "For what?" Dr. Icenogle: "You want a heart don't you?"

Six years ago today, I received a life saving--major life saving heart transplant from my angelic donor, Danielle. The story is so amazing and unbelievable. All transplants are miracles, but this on was so beyond medical standards that anyone looking from the outside can tell something very special happened.

Excerpt about Danielle from book one, A Heart Like Mine:
When Danielle was five years old, her dad was killed in a motorcycle accident, leaving Charlotte to raise three children on her own. They often had to visit the local food bank to get help with the family’s needs. Danielle was so touched by the acts of kindness, she insisted to her mom that when she grew up she would “help others like they were helping them.” As she grew, she did just that—gave whatever she had if someone she saw needed it. She gave away her coat to a friend and came home in the cold rain without it, her shoes were donated to a friend in need as she walked home barefoot, her lunch was often offered to another classmate who had nothing, and she always asked for extra snacks to hand out to those less fortunate.

As she got older, Danielle explained to her mom that she felt like she was put on the earth to give to those who were in need of help. When she got her driver’s license, she decided to become an organ donor. “Mom, if something were to happen to me,” she said, “why would I want my organs to be buried when someone’s life could be saved or helped by me being a donor?”

No one likes to talk about a subject as sensitive as dying, but it was important to Danielle that her family knew her wishes. Then the tragic day came when, as Charlotte put it, “I lost something very dear to me—my little princess.”

Danielle was an epileptic and had a seizure one day that caused her to slip and fall in the shower. She suffered a concussion and also hit her neck, cutting off blood flow to her brain from her carotid arteries in her neck. After three days in the hospital, all hope was lost that she ever would come back. When Charlotte was notified that the hospital called a code blue on Danielle, the code for eminent death, she was distraught. “Why God?” she asked. “Why are You doing this? Take me instead of her.”

Danielle’s brothers and the rest of her family all struggled with their loss. But Charlotte knew God had a purpose on earth for her daughter—her “princess.” She also knew that if Danielle’s organs had not been donated, there would have been no purpose to her death.

The holidays were always difficult for Charlotte, but after we talked for a few months, she agreed to meet my family and me on Easter weekend—almost three years after losing Danielle. It was an emotional and powerful meeting for both of us, Charlotte finding closure and me getting to know about the person whose heart was keeping me alive.

Charlotte said something only someone so close to the Lord could comprehend: “After getting to know you,” she explained through tears of relief, “I now know that my daughter’s purpose on earth was to be here so when you needed a new heart, she could give you hers.”

How could a mom say something like that after losing her daughter? Danielle was a Christian, and she demonstrated it by her giving and loving lifestyle. And Danielle is still who she is, and I am who I am, but part of me has a piece of Danielle that God holds in high esteem—her heart. I cannot be who I am without Danielle’s heart keeping me alive. “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). This verse is clipped onto the bulletin board in my kitchen, reminding me quite often of who I am in God’s eyes. No matter what I do wrong, whatever pain I suffer, whatever failures I despair over, I am exactly who God made me to be. And it was His plan that Danielle’s life would become part of mine.

I now have an extended family to which I am very connected. Besides the physical connection, there is an emotional connection and a spiritual connection.
This blog isn't a sales pitch. I know the story is about me--but not really just me. So many people and lives have been changed. I was at the doctor today and every time someone new hears my story, they are amazed and blown away at what has happened. Yet I sit here typing, feeling great, and living life!

The story is BIG. If you haven't purchased my first book in the Heart Like Mine Trilogy, you can purchase it from my website, online retailers, or my publisher. The E-book is on sale for $5.99 in preparation for book two being published soon.

My site:
E-book: On Sale: $5.99:

Pre-Order book two:

Danielle, my angel on earth.

Visit me at

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