Suburban Woman Looks Forward to New Year Thanks to Heart Donor

A stranger’s gift has given a Bartlett woman a second chance at life.

Vicki Strawn used to struggle taking her dog Teddy outside.

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“Even doing that. Coming home after transplant was therapy just the little things like that,” Strawn said. “Relearning how to use your body again.” 

It’s been over a year since Strawn received a lifesaving heart transplant. 

“I was a typical woman. I ignored the symptoms,” she said. “I didn’t pay attention to my body that was giving me pre-warnings, and I taught preschool so I thought I must be getting sick from that. I waited to long to go to the hospital which resulted in a lot of heart damage.” 

At the age of 51, Strawn suffered a heart attack. Living with cardiac problems came with limitations that made it difficult to walk or cook. Strawn finally got the call she’d been waiting for on May 16, 2021.

“I have to pinch myself just doing the little things, because I use to go into the tachycardia and I thought ‘Would this cause a problem? But no, I started to ride a stationary bike for seven miles,” she said. 

With a new outlook on life, Strawn says the greatest gift has been watching her granddaughter grow. 

For her son, Nate Strawn, it is his mother’s strength he says he holds on too.

“A song plays and it hits me,” Nate Strawn said. “We saw Elton John over the summer and that was also a mile stone and then we got emotional because we have talked about that.”

So many what if moments have now become a reality for the Strawn family.

She hasn’t had the chance to meet the donor’s family, but hopes that one day she can.

“I think if I meet them I would fall on my knees,” Vicki Strawn said. “I always think that.”

All she has been able to do is send the donor’s family a letter.

“Please know that your loved ones spirit lives there with me in every breath I take. I promise to take care of this miraculous gift, and to honor it every day,” Strawn said.

Stronger than ever, Strawn says she is welcoming the New Year embracing all the lives big and little milestones.

Note: This article will be updated with video.

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