Transplant Throwback: Kay Walters

Kay Walters, pictured with her daughter, received a heart transplant in 1997.

Name: Kay Walters

Age: 72

Home: Holt

Transplant: Heart

Why did you need a transplant and when did it happen?

I had my heart transplant in April 1997, after years of serious health complications caused by a heart attack and cardiac arrest in 1989.

This was 26 years ago. How are you doing?

Since my transplant, I have enjoyed an overall healthy life. At my last check-up at the heart transplant clinic, my doctor gave me an A-.

Your donor’s name was Kim. What else do you know about her?

Kim was a lovely 19-year-old young woman who was full of excitement, planning her future life. She had just graduated from high school. She had a boyfriend whom she loved and a future that was filled with promise when she was killed in an automobile accident.

What are the most important events or experiences you’ve been able to enjoy because Kim saved your life?

In the years since my transplant, I have felt joy and sorrow, like most people. I am happy, thankful and blessed for the years I have been given. My old friendships have grown, and new friends have entered my life. These friendships are precious to me. I am able to participate and volunteer in my community and my church. My heart is full when I can extend my hand out to others who are in need.

I enjoyed seeing my daughter go away to college. It warmed my heart to watch her grow into a beautiful and compassionate woman, who gives of herself to many. I was able to share in the enjoyment of my husband’s retirement. We traveled around the country, and our love for each other continued to grow, as we checked off many items on our bucket list.

I was with my husband when he received a terminal illness diagnosis. Yes, it was devastating, but it was with great joy and gratitude that I was able to love and care for him at home, as he requested. Thank you for all of these magical moments, dear Kim.

If you could talk to Kim today, what would you tell her?

I give thanks every day for the precious gift you have given me. I share your story with people around the country, so your life story does not disappear. I always smile when I make lemon meringue pie, your specialty. I honor your gift and do what I hope would please you every day, Kim.

‘Kim was a lovely 19-year-old young woman who was full of excitement, planning her future life.’

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