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A Heart in the Nick of time

From birth, Priscilla Lane's days were numbered because of a heart defect.

As the then two-and-a-half year old lay in the operating room awaiting her heart transplant, her embattled heart stopped. The doctors told her mother Nancy she would not have lived another day without a transplant.

Image of Priscilla Lane shows her strength on the climbing wall during 2008 Camp Jeremy.Zoom+ Priscilla Lane shows her strength on the climbing wall during 2008 Camp Jeremy.

But thankfully, a generous donor gave young Priscilla a second chance at life, and a gift that has allowed her to mature into a healthy and happy girl.

Priscilla's heart problems began at 3 months, when doctors informed her mother that she had an enlarged heart. She would undergo numerous hospital visits, treatments and tests throughout the next two years. Her condition turned dire when she went into congestive heart failure one day, Nancy remembered. The little girl then awaited a new heart in the hospital, constantly monitored by the hospital staff. After a month, her opportunity arrived and the transplant was performed - but not without showing doctors how dire the need was.

As she lay in the operating room awaiting her heart transplant, her embattled heart stopped. The doctors told her mother Nancy she would not have lived another day without a transplant.

From that fragile state, Priscilla has come to live a full life, enjoying everything a fifth-grader would. At age 14, she has been actively taking violin lessons, has taken part in a basketball camp and also regularly participates in Gift of Life's annual Camp Jeremy, a week-long outdoor camp for youth transplant recipients.

She's so healthy, people tend to forget Priscilla is the same girl who almost died, and someone who still needs to carefully monitor her transplanted heart through medications and regular doctor visits.

Nancy remains eternally grateful to the generous donor who gave her daughter a chance to live her life. She hopes that more people realize just how powerful organ and tissue donation can be. Especially in the Latino community, Nancy said there is often a hesitance to discuss death, but having that discussion can do so much and give someone like Priscilla hope, even in the last moments.

"You don't know how important it is," Nancy said. "If you don't say yes that day, you don't know who might not make it."

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Heart Transplant

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Gift of Life Family House

Image of Gift of Life Family House is located at 4th and Callowhill Streets in Philadelphia, one block from Gift of Life Donor Program.
Lodging & Support for Transplant Families

Thousands of patients come to Philadelphia hospitals every year needing life-saving organ transplants. Many come from out of state or travel great distances. Family House is a refuge for patients and their families who are on this journey.

 
 
 
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