3-time heart transplant survivor hopes others will become donors

Going through a transplant surgery can be difficult, let alone three. That's the reality for 25-year-old Lauren Holbr...

Posted: Apr. 20, 2018 8:13 AM
Updated: Apr. 20, 2018 8:13 AM

Going through a transplant surgery can be difficult, let alone three. That's the reality for 25-year-old Lauren Holbrook, a Utah County woman who has needed three new hearts. From being on the donor list, getting the procedures and recovering, she knows what it is like to benefit from another's selfless decision.

"It's really humbling, it's overwhelming too, when you really stop to think about everything that goes into place to receive a donor's heart," she said.

Holbrook was diagnosed with Kawasaki's disease and at just 18 months old, she received her first donor heart.

"Aneurisms got into my coronary arteries which meant the heart had to be replaced," she said. "It couldn't be fixed by any other means."

Her health problems would continue, and again her body was in need of the life-saving surgeries. She was 12 when she had her second heart transplant and 14 when she had her third.

"So that's technically four hearts in my body," she laughed.

She said she felt a special connection with each donor and even got to meet with one of the families.

"It was amazing to let them hear their heart one more time," she said. "It is so powerful to see someone give that much to help a total stranger."

According to the American Transplant Foundation, one organ donor can save up to eight lives. Each day there are 10 people who die waiting for a transplant. Holbrook's goal is to use her story of survival to educate others.

"I want to make people aware of these numbers and the impact a donor can have in diminishing those lives that are lost," Holbrook said.

To learn more about organ donation visit organdonor.gov.

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