LEBANON, Mo.—If you’ve ever thought about signing up to be an organ donor, but never taken the time to actually do it, Charli Hartley’s story may be all the convincing you’ll need. She was about six hours away from death when a heart transplant saved her life.
“I was 27 when I found out I had an enlarged heart,” she said. “I was always sickly and could never run like the other kids.” In 2007, after years of seeing doctor after doctor, Charli was finally told she would need valve replacement surgery. Because her heart was so enlarged, the surgery failed.
Her only hope at that point was a heart transplant. She waited two and a half years, as her health deteriorated. She was forced to quit her job, and was constantly in and out of local hospitals. “During the same time, my stepdaughter Aubrey would graduate, get married, and have my first grandson, Tanner. I wanted to be able to hold him.” Charli was missing out on the most precious moments of her life.
It was just before Christmas in 2009 when Charli received the best gift: her new heart was available. She was hospitalized in intensive care in St. Louis, and doctors said she was hours from death when they finally performed the surgery. “God works His many miracles through all of us and because of a stranger’s wish and the grace of God, I am alive. I thank my donor every single day that I awake.”
If you’d like to hear more of Charli’s story, including how a sack of potatoes helped in her recovery and how she feels today, Mercy Hospital Lebanon would like to invite you to one of two programs on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in the conference rooms at the hospital. The first program begins at 11 a.m. and the second follows at noon. Kharim Strayhorn from the Lions Eye Bank will also present some information.