Woman receives long awaited heart transplant

A patient waiting for a new heart gets the life-changing call only to have her hopes blown away by a blizzard. Then, another chance and another winter storm. We first introduced you to Amy Lanning back in January. She had been in the hospital for four months, her heart too weak to pump enough blood to supply her body. At age 35, she was running out of options.

Amy Lanning, heart transplant patient, “They knew ultimately that the solution was going to be a transplant and it would be the best fix.”

On December 21, it seemed her long wait was over.

“The doctor came in and told me we had a heart. I was so excited!”

But her excitement soon turned to fear.

Outside, a winter storm threatened to ground the transport team that was standing by, hoping to be cleared for air travel to procure the organ.

“Eight o’clock in the morning, still no updates, then one of the doctors from transplantation came over and said we wouldn’t get the heart because of the weather.”

It was a devastating emotional set-back for Amy.

“I’m terrified. Every time I look out the window and see snow or frozen ice I get very nervous, very scared. I don’t want it to happen to me again.”

This is what the weather radar looked like on the night of March 1st. A heavy snowfall was once again blanketing the Midwest. And as unlikely as it seems …

“I got another phone call. And I picked up the phone, and I was shaking. She said we have a heart for you and it looks absolutely perfect.”

It was another sleepless night as Amy waited for confirmation the heart could be retrieved.

“It was still snowing. Something I was dreading. They had waited about two hours to tell me that they had the heart because they knew the weather was so poor. They didn’t want my hopes to be up again.”

By late morning, the sound marking a successful mission.

“I remember saying my good-byes. They weren’t really good-byes, they were more like, ‘See you later! I’m ready for this.’ This heart was perfect in my eyes. It’s really adjusted to my body very nicely, and we’ve become really good friends really fast. It’s been a very moving process, and I’m so grateful.”

After coming through the 12 hour operation at Lurie Children’s smoothly, Amy is now out of the hospital and recovering at Ronald McDonald house, where she expects to stay for a few more weeks. Then, it will be back to her home, for the first time in nearly seven months.

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