Go Red for Women & Celebrate Heart Health: Teresa Diggs’ Story
Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 is National Wear Red Day — a day to raise awareness about women’s heart disease. The American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign is a passionate, emotional social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health. More than 870 women are waiting for a life-saving heart transplant in the United States today. To learn more about the Go Red campaign, visit the website.
Below is a story of a central Ohio woman, Teresa Diggs, in her own words, who received her second chance at life with a new heart in December 2000.
I Need a Heart Transplant?!?!
In September 2000, at 23 years old, I went into Congestive Heart Failure and was diagnosed with an unclassified form of cardiomyopathy, similar to restrictive cardiomyopathy. My life has not been the same since. When I was told I had less than two months to get a new heart or I would die, it changed my life forever.
By the Grace of God, on December 16, 2000, I received the greatest gift anyone could ever give me–a new heart and a second chance at LIFE. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my donor with gratitude. I am beyond thankful!
Six years later, in 2006, I developed a condition called diastolic dysfunction of my transplanted heart. Due to the size of it when I was transplanted, my heart had a tendency to stiffen up on me. I was re-diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy with leaky valves. So my journey began again!
Here I am 10 years later… though it is still a miracle, I am in heart failure and chronic renal failure. My doctors have told me I have two years before I need to be transplanted again. The last few years have been trying as I have been in and out of the hospital, but with my husband’s help and my strong faith, I am hanging in!
I often wonder if I will get another chance at life, or if I will be one of those who die every day waiting for a transplant? In the meantime, I am doing my best to live life to its fullest, and remind everyone to be an organ and tissue donor. My hero, Andrew, saved my life in 2000.
We all have the opportunity to make a difference. Don’t let the many myths surrounding donation stop you from registering as a donor. Learn the facts. The greatest gift someone can give after they pass away is the chance for someone else to live on!