Heart transplant recipient competes in Transplant Games, her living donor was there too

A rare medical procedure has linked two women forever through their hearts, and the two were able to celebrate their health and their transplants together in Utah this past weekend.

Linda Karr, 55, was born with a heart defect and was put on a transplant list two years go, KTVX reported.

Tammy Griffin has cystic fibrosis. Her heart shifted and she was in need of a double heart-lung transplant.

Two years ago Griffin got a call that there was a deceased donor who she matched for a heart and lung transplant.

But her heart was still good, so she signed up to donate it, despite her disease.

Most transplant centers would not transplant her heart into a recipient because of Griffin's cystic fibrosis, but doctors at Stanford found a way to use Griffin's heart.

>> Read more trending news

They performed a “domino surgery” where Griffin’s heart was given to Karr and Griffin received the deceased donor’s organs.

Six weeks after the surgery, the two met face-to-face, with Griffin saying "Even though we were strangers before today, you'll always be part of me."

"It was only these unique circumstances of these three people's lives that converged. I think it was kind of a miracle," Karr told KTVX.

“It’s exciting because I’m still alive and know that my heart is out there still,” Griffin said.

Thanks to Griffin, Karr is able to be active in sports. She recently went hiking and realized Griffin's heart beating in her chest was allowing her to do that, KTVX reported. She also competed in the Transplant Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, with biking and basketball among the sports.

Griffin is also leading an active life, taking part in the Crater Walk that stretches 6.7 miles.

About the Author