Donna Jones Baker – Heart and Kidney Recipient

Once upon a time, for what seems like a long, long time ago, I was a hard-charging, extremely busy, nonprofit executive with dozens of meetings each day. I had places to go and people to see with a 30-year history of dedication to the community. Then, “something” happened on Sunday night, April 17, 2017. That was the night that paramedics escorted me to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the decision was made to equip me with a Heartmate II LVAD. Family made the decision; I awoke from surgery with the device.

Two weeks prior to my hospitalization, I started to feel awful. When I went to the urgent care center, I was ordered a Z-Pack and sent home. In retrospect, my symptoms of the virus, Giant Cell Myocarditis were clear; however, it was unrecognized by the health professionals. By Sunday night, I called the paramedics, knowing something was terribly wrong. My doctors decided that in order for me to live a healthy longer life, I needed a nephrectomy and a heart/kidney transplant. My nephrectomy was on January 6, 2020 and the following week I was placed on the organ transplant waiting list.

We get lots of calls from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Whenever the phone rings, since placed on the transplant waiting list, my husband and I hold our breath until we know the reason for the call. Any one of those calls could be “the one”, especially at night.
Although I have been a registered organ, eye and tissue donor since I began driving, I never realized what the donation meant. To me personally, it means a chance for a longer, more fulfilling life. To me, it is a beautiful testament of love for one’s fellow man.

UPDATE: Donna Baker Jones received her heart transplant on July 17, 2020 and her kidney transplant on July 18, 2020.

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