MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – During American Heart Month, a local organization is highlighting the work of heart transplant survivors who are helping others going through the process of getting a new heart.
One of these survivors is Shalah Jeeves, who was just a young woman when she learned she needed a new heart.
“I was diagnosed when I was 21 years old with Dilated cardiomyopathy,” she said.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that could result in heart failure. The organization says "the ventricle stretches and thins (dilates) and can't pump blood as well as a healthy heart can. Over time, both ventricles may be affected.”
In 2015, Jeeves got a new heart and now, at the age of 39, she is raising a pair of four-year-old twins with her husband. Jeeves is also a member of the HeartBrothers Foundation – a non-profit organization made up of volunteer heart survivors who help others going through similar experiences.
“I’m really fortunate for my, you know, my heart [and] for being in this area with such great healthcare, such great support systems like the Heart Brothers,” Jeeves said. “Everyone I think should be fortunate for their health and I’m just really grateful to be here.”
Team HeartBrothers is made up of more than 50 survivors who routinely visit those hospitalized with heart failure, VAD and heart transplant patients.
WBZ’s Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) has more of Jeeve’s story: