Emory and Children's Heart Transplant Recipients Celebrate Life at
15th Annual Heart To Heart Event, Sunday, Feb. 9
ATLANTA -- Kenishia Woods of Decatur is an active 22 year old.
But she remembers how different her life was as a child when a congenital
heart ailment prevented her from playing with friends. "I was constantly
tired. And I stayed inside all summer long. I couldn't take the heat,"
she recalls. But in 1991, her health and her life changed dramatically
when she received a heart transplant.
Richard Patterson, 28, has a similar story. The Duluth resident also
was born with a severe heart problem that held him back from normal
childhood activities. "My play was limited to about half an hour at
most on a good day," he says. "I didn't have enough energy to do the
normal things other kids did." Today, thanks to the heart transplant
he received at age 13, he has the energy to participate in a host of
sports, from jet skiing to ice skating.
Andy Kridle, 21, who lives in Douglasville, recalls how he longed to
play outside and ride bikes with other children, but that was impossible
because of his malformed heart. His life was transformed from one of
weakness to one of health, however, when he received a new heart at
Their odyssey from failing hearts to new hearts -- and new health
has taken Kenishia, Richard and Andy from Children's HealthCare of Atlanta,
where they received their transplants as children, to the Emory Heart
Center, where they are now followed as active, healthy adults. All three
have something else in common: this Sunday they are joining more than
a hundred other men, women and children who have received heart transplants
-- or are awaiting new hearts -- along with friends and family members
for the 15th annual Heart to Heart Celebration.
The party, which will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Stone Mountain Park,
will feature activities for children, feature a cooking demonstration
of heart healthy foods and remarks by David Vega, MD, Director of the
Heart and Lung Transplant Program at Emory University Hospital (EUH)
and Kirk Kanter, MD, Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program
at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
The event is sponsored by EUH, the leading heart transplant medical
center in Georgia where more than 400 patients have received new hearts,
and by Children's, the highest volume pediatric heart transplant center
in the region, where more than 145 transplants have occurred. For eleven
years, The Emory Heart Center has been consistently ranked as one of
the top ten cardiology centers in the country by U.S. News and World
Report. Sibley Heart Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta was
recently named as one of the top five pediatric cardiac programs in
the U.S. by Child Magazine.
"Since the first heart transplant in Georgia was performed at Emory
in 1985, we've seen remarkable advances in the field, including use
of the left ventricular assist device as a bridge to transplantation.
Heart transplants dramatically improve the lives of many people who
are in need. In fact, a number of our patients have gone on to pursue
sports, playing in the national Transplant Games - and one is a professional
golfer," says Andrew Smith, MD, Medical Director of Emory's Center for
Heart Failure Therapy.
According to Kanter, the Heart to Heart Celebration has become a tradition
for both Children's and Emory transplant patients. "Patients and their
families travel from all over the region to attend this annual event.
It's an informal yet enriching way for them to meet new faces and visit
with old ones, all of whom have found new health and hope through a
heart transplant," he said.
About Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta enhances the lives of children through
excellence in patient care, research and education. With 430 licensed
beds in two hospitals and more than 15,500 annual inpatient visits,
Children's is one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the
country. In 2001, Children's earned a score of 95 from the Joint Commission
on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Children's is recognized
for excellence in cardiology, cancer treatment, transplant services
and many other pediatric specialties. As a nonprofit organization, Children's
benefits from the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our
community and state, enabling us to enhance services and programs for
children and their families. To learn more about Children's Healthcare
of Atlanta, visit the Web site at www.choa.org
or call 404.250.kids.
About Emory Healthcare
Emory Hospitals include Emory University Hospital, a 587-bed hospital
located on the Emory University campus in northeast Atlanta, Emory Crawford
Long Hospital, a 553-bed, community-based hospital in midtown and Wesley
Woods Geriatric Hospital, a 100-bed hospital located on the Emory campus.
Emory Hospitals are components of Emory Healthcare, the most comprehensive
health care system in Atlanta. Other components of Emory Healthcare
are: The Emory Clinic, the Emory Children's Center, the jointly owned
Emory-Adventist Hospital, and EHCA, LLC, a limited liability company
created in collaboration with HCA Healthcare.Visit the Emory HealthCare
web site at www.emoryhealthcare.org.