Heart transplant

Metro Detroit woman receives heart transplant and with it a second chance: ‘Scars are stories’

More than one in three women live with some form of cardiovascular disease.

Last year, Local 4 told you the story of Kristy Sidlar. She looked like the picture of health, but she was actually fighting for her life.

Read: Michigan woman’s story highlights serious heart health risks for women

Sidlar was an athlete from an early age. At the age of 31, she collapsed while on a bike ride and was diagnosed with a condition that prevented the right side of her heart from beating effectively.

After 20 years of living with limitations and five years of heart failure, Sidlar finally got the call she was waiting for. On March 11, 2021, Sidlar got a new heart.

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“I was up and walking on the third day. I was up the stairs on the fourth day and was out of the hospital in eight days, so I was much better than I expected,” Sidlar said.

Before the transplant, her heart was not pumping properly. She said her heart wasn’t working so everything was flowing through her organs.

“I would do a few miles, a pretty slow walk, with my husband and I would have to stop probably six, seven times,” Sidlar said.

After the transplant, she was able to start running.

“Absolute tears of joy. And just that feeling, not only of accomplishment, but I was given that ability and that second chance to do something that I had been unable to do for two decades,” Sidlar said.

Sidlar ran a 5K on the sixth anniversary of his transplant. She is now training for a triathlon.

“I’ve now been given that back in my life and there’s no way to say thank you for that,” Sidlar said.

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She hasn’t had the chance to meet her donor’s family yet, but they are never far from her thoughts.

“I literally put my hand over my heart every day and thank and thank this family,” Sidlar said. “I received the present from a 37-year-old woman. I don’t know his situation. I don’t know where she lives. Oddly enough, I really want to know his birthday. I really want to be able to honor him that day, but I honor him every day.

Sidlar has written a book, sharing her story and the lessons she learned about health, wellness, and life’s challenges.

“I like to say, ‘scars are stories.’ The scars made me realize that what could be an ugly thing, really has an opportunity to be something much more positive. What if we could just take some of these stories and turn them upside down and let them give us life. hope for the future. I think that’s just something I’ve learned along this journey,” Sidlar said.

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It is a journey with a new road to travel.

“It’s an amazing second chance. We’re called Kristy 2.0 and I live it every day,” Sidlar said.

Sidlar’s book is titled “Change of heart: my journey of transplantation, revelation and transformation.“He is due out on March 11, the first anniversary of his transplant. Click here to find out more about his book.

Click here to buy tickets for the “2022 Metro Detroit Go Red for Women Experience” on Friday, February 25, 2022. Click here to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Read: Complete coverage of Heart Month

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