Lisa Russell always led a healthy lifestyle. She owned a farm and her own business andwalked five miles every day.
Then one night, she found herself struggling for air, feeling like she was drowning. Her heart was suddenly failing.
I could no longer breath and I knew I was close to death, Lisa said. Only 10 percent of my heart was working. I planned my own funeral.”
Lisa needed a new heart badly. She thought her time was coming to a close, when she received a call saying there was still hope: a donor had been found.
I received a phone call, and I thought they were teasing that they had a heart for me, she said. You’re facing death and you’re mentally and emotionally preparing for death. And then all of a sudden, you’re told you get to live.”
Like most donors, Lisa felt excitement but also a sense of grief. Whoever’s heart she was receiving, she knew that their loved ones had just lost someone.
Lisa wrote a letter of gratitude to the family, thanking them for their gift. However, she didn’t feel this was enough. She wanted to give them a small piece of the person they were mourning.
I’m recording the heartbeat and I’m putting it inside of a little bear, she said. I’m hoping when they have those difficult days, they can hold onto that bear. When they hold the teddy bear, they’ll know that’s their loved ones heart.
The family accepted the bear, although they weren’t quite ready to meet Lisa in person, understandably.
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