I wish I knew more ways to say, “Thank you”. I was given not just a second chance at life, but also a life with possibilities never imagined.
Being born with congenital heart defects, my first open-heart surgery was performed when I was five-days-old. Six more heart surgeries followed before being tremendously fortunate to have a heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in 2000.
Since being the recipient of Mayo Clinic’s 185th heart transplant, I finished my Master’s degree and finally took some dance lessons that I never previously had the energy to do in childhood (a smaller goal but felt large at the time).
Most importantly, I found my dream come true – making the world more delicious and beautiful with a chocolate and sweet treats business. 185Chocolat, LLC is devoted to making hand-painted Truffles. The company gives back a portion to the Mayo Clinic’s Transplant Endowment Fund to assist persons and their families with the cost of any type of transplant. It also gives me the opportunity to increase awareness about heart transplants and the work at the Mayo Clinic, while customers are enjoying Truffles.
My journey is not complete without saying many “thank you’s”. To my parents who have been through a lifetime of love, fear, and hope: thank you. To the donor family and the individual who gave me the chance to take a deep breath: thank you. (I thank them every day I wake up.) To every doctor, nurse, medical technician, housekeeping worker, and all those that keep a hospital operational every day: thank you. Finally, to my family and friends who have stood by my side throughout the years: thank you.
Written by: Heidi Ash