‘Braveheart’- Woman Becomes First to Climb Mountains After Heart Transplant

by Ann Samuel on  March 5, 2007 at 12:42 PM Organ Donation News
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‘Braveheart’- Woman Becomes First to Climb Mountains After Heart Transplant
Kelly Perkins is on top of the world, literally.

The brave woman added another mountain to her basket of mountaineering feats, as she scaled another mountain peak, this time in the Andes.

Perkins calls the route the "Charmed Heart". She led her team up one of several unnamed peaks in the remote Cajon de Arenales region near Argentina's border with Chile, more than 650 miles west of Buenos Aires.

Perkins grew up among mountains and with a love for the outdoors. Her zeal for mountain trekking and climbing only increased after her transplant on Nov. 20, 1995. Any fears about stressing her new heart were overwhelmed by a desire to rebuild her strength.

It was almost 4 years back that Perkins was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease in which heart muscle becomes inflamed, which doctors blamed on a virus. For more than three years, she and her husband shuttled in and out of hospitals seeking a donor heart.

After a successful operation, along with her supportive husband, Craig, she hiked up Half Dome peak in Yosemite National Park in just 10 months after the operation. Says Perkins "I wanted to do something significant to help change the image that friends and family had developed of me, and also the image I had formed of myself."

She adds that she found inspiration during her recovery from a classic Ansel Adams photo of Half Dome hanging in her home.

Her husband Craig has only words of appreciation for his brave wife, " Kelly had a heart transplant on Nov. 20, 1995. A little over a decade later and she's opening new routes and doing some amazing things you'd never expect," he says.

"Even after a transplant you can be a very, very strong person, and Kelly is a prime example of that."

As for Kelly Perkins, she is ready to go on,or rather go up, as long as her heart allows her to.

Source: Medindia
ANN

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