So often we speak of love when we speak of our heart being stolen, of our breath being taken away.
My own story took the darkest of turns in my fight with Lyme disease, which literally stole my heart and might very well have permanently taken my breath away.
Lyme disease meant seven years of my life hanging by a thread. So many of you prayed and were by my side in some of my darkest hours, that interminable waiting for a new heart in what sometimes felt like a terminus to the joy of my own life. You sustained me with your love, and I am deeply grateful for how you carried me through then and since March 3, 2019, the day that I began to live again. Grateful, overwhelmed, and blessed were all the feelings that swirled within me. Someone else generously gave a precious gift with the end of their life so that mine could begin anew, and I was surrounded still with the most incredible warmth of care and compassion as I came to learn to live again with my same soul but a new heart. My daughter experienced exquisite happiness to have her mother still here with her and able to participate in some activities. Your positive thoughts have not been confined to your own mind; I have thought them with you and been so glad to be so embraced. Truly, you all took my breath away in the best way possible.
For seven years, you talked the talk to me; on October 6, you walked the walk for me with the Heart and Sole Walk, during which we raised $20,000 for the transplant program to help those in need and honored my donor and their family. I cannot thank you enough, but this message is the beginning of my attempt to try, because if there is anything I have learned in this terrifying, beautiful, and transformative journey, it is that in any attempt there is hope, and in hope there is life itself. A heart is a muscle; a heart is also a drum of faith in oneself to continue on in this world. You not only helped me live. You are the people who reminded me how much good there is in this life.