SALT LAKE, Utah (News4Utah) — Opening Ceremonies for the Transplant Games of America will be held tonight. Each competitor has an inspiring story. There is one unbelievable story where the recipient and donor have a connection like no other. Linda and Tammy are part of one of the rarest life saving surgeries of its kind. It left one woman who received a heart and the other person who donated that heart, both alive!
55-year-old Linda Karr from California was born with a heart defect. Two years ago she was put on the transplant wait list.
Linda, “I couldn’t do very much at all.”
Yet, she wasn’t sick enough to be at the top of the transplant list.
At the same time, Tammy Griffin’s lungs were failing her from cystic fibrosis.
Her condition caused her heart to shift. A complication, where doctors needed to give her a double heart-lung transplant.
Tammy Griffin, heart donor, heart lung recipient, ‘I told my husband that if my heart was still good, why not donate it?’
Tammy from Oregon, got the call, two years ago, that there was a deceased donor for a new heart and lung.
This put into motion what doctors at Stanford Hospital call the ‘Domino Surgery.’
Tammy, ‘they took my donor’s organs, put it in me and took my organ and put them in her.’
But remember Linda? She wasn’t at the top of the transplant list.
It was only because of Tammy’s cystic fibrosis condition, other transplant centers rejected her heart. But doctors at Stanford were confident they could make it work.
Linda, ‘it was only these unique circumstances of these three people’s lives that converged. I think it was kind of a miracle.’
Shortly after the domino surgery, 2 years ago, Tammy – heart donor and heart lung recipient, met Linda who now has Tammy’s heart.
Tammy, ‘it’s exciting because I’m still alive and know that my heart is out there still.’
Linda is reminded everyday of the blessings, and recently, during a hike up Angel’s Landing.
‘I got to the top and thought about Tammy. Wow! Her heart enabled me to do that.’
Linda will again be reminded as she competes in biking, basketball and other sports in the Transplant Games this week in Salt Lake City.
Tammy will be one of Linda’s biggest fans, rooting for her and her heart
‘I’m so excited she’s doing something like this and enjoying life again.’
Tammy herself will be participating in the Crater Walk, a 6.7 mile hike.
SALT LAKE, Utah (News4Utah) — A local artist was so inspired by a rare organ transplant procedure she wanted to paint the story on canvas.
Linda Karr received a heart from Tammy Griffin. They are both alive. Tammy is alive because of a deceased donor gave her a lung and heart. It’s one of the rarest organ transplants that doctors at Stanford Hospital call a ‘domino transplant.’
Ruth Ann Isaacson is friends with Linda. After hearing her story she started to create a huge painting. That was 2 years ago to the day of the unveiling. Today, she unveiled a large 8’X6′ narrative portrait. The same day of the opening ceremonies of the Transplant Games of America held in Salt Lake City.
Linda is in Salt Lake competing in the Games.
Anne Ruth Isaacson, Artist, “this story it speaks to the anonymous donor and Tammy and Linda how they interact without being to graphic because there’s no real heart. and in the foreground it has the two surgeons because it is a moving part in their lives too.”