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“My Broken Heart”

Utah Caring Stories

What’s the best present you’ve ever gotten? How about 3.7 Million Dollars to fund research on congenital heart defects, the #1 birth defect in America (source: childrensheartfoundation.org)

Dr. Martin Tristani, a Pediatric Cardiologist at the University of Utah points out they are one of four centers in the country that is funded to study congenital heart disease. 

It had been thought that these defects were genetic. It was recently discovered that that is not true in most cases.

If it is some other factor, then perhaps we can actually prevent congenital heart disease. Wouldn’t that be awesome! Dr Tristani says that is a major goal of his research.

Macey Wright was born with a heart defect. She had two successful procedures as a baby and open-heart surgery at age 10. When she was 14 she was told she needed a heart transplant. For Macey, her best present every went viral when her mother just got the news from doctors that they believe they had a donor heart and decided to capture the moment on her cellphone.

Macey told me; “I’m never going to forget that day. It’s crazy to look back and watch the video over and over again and just remember. It’s like the day that you are born again, but you don’t remember the day that you were born.  So, to be told that your life is going to be saved today. You know, you get to keep living because of this…. It’s incredible.”

I asked what her birthday is. “August 23rd” is her reply.  When I asked her what’s her new birthday, Macey said with a wide grin “August 29th.”

This Utah girl celebrates her gift by advocating for causes like organ donation and heart disease. She expresses herself through music. 

She plays the guitar as well as the ukulele. As she strums the strings of her hand painted ukulele, I recognize the song “I’m Okay” from Ingrid Michaelson. Then she starts to sing. As she closes her eyes and gives a heartfelt rendition, the irony of the lyrics and her challenges are not lost on those of us in the room.  

MUSIC: I’m Okay – “Songwriters: Ingrid Michaelson. Be OK lyrics © Cabin 24 Records”)

Ingrid Michaelson

I just want to be okay, be okay, be okay
I just want to be okay today
I just want to be okay, be okay, be okay
I just want to be okay today

I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today
I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today

Open me up and you will see
I’m a gallery of broken hearts
I’m beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts

As I bring up the irony to Macey, her Mother, Patrice, says she cried the first time that her daughter played it. 

Macey’s reaction; “I guess after going through everything you kinda have to learn how to be strong. You just don’t know, you gotta get through it first and then you know. I’m Okay. I’m strong now. I know what I had to do. “

Patrice Wright is effusive in her praise for the support they got and is doing her part to pay it forward.  “When I look back on it. We didn’t walk through transplant. A community carried our family through to the other side. Which is really special.”

Together we can triumph over our trials. These are stories that deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop.

For more information on Congenital Heart Disease and Organ Donation and how you can help, go to Good4Utah.com/Caring.
https://www.heart.org and https://www.organdonor.gov/

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