Kimberly Woods, 21, got a phone call days before her big day saying a heart donor had come forward, but there was a catch – the first chance of a transplant was on her wedding day
A new bride underwent a life-changing heart transplant – just hours after getting married.
Kimberly Woods got a phone call days before she was due to say ‘I do’ explaining a donor had finally been identified.
She stressed to medics she wanted the earliest appointment possible – and vowed to stick to whatever date she was given.
The hospital came back and told her they could fit her in days later, but there was a rather big issue.
The 21-year-old was due to get hitched to husband-to-be Tony that day but instead of asking them to put it off, she decided to move her wedding forward a few hours.
With both of their families’ support, Kimberly and Tony arranged what is called a meet-me-in-an-hour wedding at Grace Community Church, in Goshen, Indiana.
As soon as they tied the knot, they packed up her car and headed for the hospital a few hours away.
“I had only been on the transplant list for about a month, and they told me it could be years before I’d get a heart. I hadn’t even read the pamphlet on the heart transplant process yet!” she told the Cleveland Clinic.
“We had planned our wedding for a year, and we knew it wasn’t going to happen the way we had planned. But we didn’t want to wait until after the transplant to do it.
“Everything was so rushed, it felt like a blur. But we were able to be in the moment. It wasn’t our dream wedding, but it was still perfect.”
Diagnosed with HCM at an early age, she says when the chance came up nothing could get in the way.
“I always had to just take it easy, but when I was 18, it felt worse,” she said.
“Something wasn’t completely right, and it felt like my heart was beating a little bit weaker. I would get more tired and my heart was racing and skipping beats. I was always out of breath and couldn’t keep up with friends. ”
The procedure was performed by cardiac surgeon Michael Zhen-Yu Tong.
“Transplantation is truly a gift,” he told the organization.
“Being able to help Kimberly and deliver on her successful outcome, is what draws all of us to heart transplantation.
“We can make an immediate and dramatic impact on a patient’s life that not only addresses their symptoms but contributes to their long-term survival.”