News Release: Emory Healthcare

Feb. 12,  2010

Emory Heart Transplant Patients Celebrate Gift of Life at 'Heart to Heart' Transplant Reunion Event

News Article ImageTo learn more about Emory's heart transplant program, visit Emory Healthcare's web site.

The heart has always been the universal symbol of love, and of Valentine's Day - the national holiday celebrating our love and affection for those special to us. Again this year, Americans will spend tens of millions of dollars on heart shaped candies, cards, balloons, flower arrangements and an assortment of other gifts.

For more than 100 Emory heart transplant patients and their families, this Valentine's Day truly will celebrate the heart - as well as the gift of life, hope, the future and those men and women who gave selflessly as a heart donor so that others could live and many families could grow.

WHAT:
More than 100 heart transplant patients and family members will celebrate their successful fight against congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy and other heart ailments this Valentine's Day during the Emory Heart to Heart Transplant Celebration Event.

WHEN:
Sunday, Feb. 14 (Valentine's Day) 3-5 p.m.

WHERE:
Miller-Ward Alumni House (Emory University Campus)
815 Houston Mill Rd.
Atlanta, Ga., 30322

WHO:
Media will have an opportunity to speak with Emory heart transplant surgeons, care team members, cardiologists and patients. 

Patient Interview Highlight:

Jacquelyn "Jackie" Deloach
(Gray, GA)

In 1986 when Jacquelyn "Jackie" Deloach of Gray, Ga. was pregnant with her daughter Megan, she never thought that she would soon experience heart failure as a young woman. However, not more than two weeks after Jackie and her husband Doug had experienced the greatest human gift - the birth of their baby girl on Feb. 20, 1987 - Jackie began to suffer from chest pains and severe shortness of breath. After a medical evaluation, it was quickly determined that Jackie's heart was failing - the result of post-partum cardiomyopathy.

"We went from the ultimate joy to quickly not knowing whether I would even live to see my little girl's second birthday," said Deloach. "It went from the happiest and most hope-filled moment of our lives to the most frightening."

Deloach, who has worked caring for others as a nurse her entire career, would eventually be placed on a heart transplant waiting list when her daughter Megan had turned just 18 months old.

Soon, the miracle of a donor heart would come to Jackie when she was transplanted at Emory University Hospital in 1989.

This Valentine's Day, Jackie will celebrate her miracle with others who also received heart transplant.

But Jackie also has many other reasons to celebrate this week:

Her daughter Megan, who turns 23 years old this week on Feb. 20, recently graduated from nursing school - and just got married.

"The gift of this transplant has allowed me to live a wonderful life. We have raised a wonderful daughter, watched her grow, graduate from college and get married - all because someone I never knew helped make that possible with the greatest gift anyone could ever give," said Deloach.

Unfortunately, daughter Megan will be unable to join her mother this year at the reunion event.

She just started her first job - as a nurse.

Just like her mom.

###

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Blog: http://emoryhealthblog.com
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci
Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

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