- By Dana Sparks
Sharing Mayo Clinic: Sweet homecoming after successful heart and kidney transplants
The road home was long for Laura Richardson as she battled through medical setbacks, and a protracted wait for a heart transplant and a kidney transplant. But when Laura finally returned healthy and happy to her beloved farm in Iowa, the reunion with friends and family was especially heartwarming.
In Iowa, panoramic views of greenery, meadows and cornfields on a hazy summer day are always a welcome sight. For Laura Richardson, seeing such a pastoral vista in June 2019 was particularly moving. After more than a year of being hospitalized at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona, Laura was coming home following successful heart and kidney transplants.
The closer Laura and her husband, Don, got to her hometown of Minburn, Iowa, the more Laura shed tears of relief, reflecting on the medical odyssey that kept her away from the family members, friends and farm animals she so cherishes. Her tears also were of joy and appreciation for the host of Mayo Clinic providers who rallied to save her life as she battled numerous medical issues.
Minburn, a town of fewer than 300 residents, has a tradition of looking out for each other. When word spread that Laura was finally homeward bound, they went all-out. Laura and Don were stopped by sheriff's deputies along the highway near their home. But no tickets were issued. Instead, the deputies provided a formal escort, lights blazing, to the couple's farm. Friends and neighbors lined the road with "Welcome Home" signs. Laura, overcome with emotion, leaned out the car window to shout her thanks to the crowds.
Laura says that was the day her second life began.