Organ Donation and Transplantation

Episode #3 deals with a very important topic — Organ Donation and Transplantation. I felt this was a most appropriate topic for the week of Thanksgiving, even though many of my heart friends and listeners are not American, I’m sure they can appreciate the feelings of thanks that all of us in the United States feel during this week.

This show had more Guests on it than any other! At the top of the show we had a mother and daughter: Eileen Pearlman and Jessica Cowin.

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It’s not everyday that I have the good fortune to meet my Guests face to face. Most of us do the interviews for the radio show via Skype or telephone. Thanks to modern technology, VoiceAmerica has engineers who orchestrate our interviews as though we were all in the studio together. Shortly after our interview for this important episode, I went to Chicago and had a chance to meet with Eileen Pearlman (center) and her two lovely daughters (to the right of Eileen) Jessica Cowin (transplant recipient) and Amy Cowin (transplant donor). I’m the one in the cap (I hate for my head to be cold and I was warned how windy Chicago can be!) and the lady to the far left is another heart mom, Eileen Wenzel.

We had a 5-hour dinner because there was so much to talk about! Tune into this episode to hear the remarkable stories that Jessica and Eileen have to share about what it was like for Eileen to have a daughter born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and how her daughter ultimately ended up with two transplants! In that same segment we get to meet Jessica and find out what it was like for her growing up with HLHS and how she came to deal with the fact that her sister wanted to donate a kidney to her to save her life.

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The second segment brings us two heart moms — Kathy Keller (top) and Emily Wiebke (bottom). Kathy’s son, Garrett was born with HLHS but Emily’s daughter, Aryanna, was born with dilated cardiomyopathy. Tune in to hear how these moms found out their children needed a heart transplant and the one thing they both know is probably in their future.

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One of the things I love about hosting this radio show is the chance to talk with old friends. The final segment of this episode allowed me to interview Anthony Pugliese. Anthony contributed an essay to a book I edited a few years ago called The Heart of a Father. In that book Anthony told us about what it was like to grow up with a congenital heart defect and then become a father himself. On the radio we had a chance to talk about something totally different: Anthony’s journey to having a heart transplant. Tune in to hear how Anthony embarked on that journey and how his son is doing now.

Our Miracle Moment was an excerpt from the book The Heart of a Mother. I shared part of what Dawn Martin wrote about her journey with Travis as he was born with HLHS and then ultimately needed a heart transplant. If you’d like to read Dawn’s essay, you can go to this page on the Baby Hearts Press website: http://www.babyheartspress.com/hom/hom2.htm

I hope you’ll tune in to this show and that you are as inspired by these Guests as I was. The show is already archived so you can go here:

http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2259/heart-to-heart-with-anna and listen whenever you like. Don’t forget you can download the VoiceAmerica app to your smart phone or tablet and of course you can always listen on your computer by going to the VoiceAmerica page and downloading the episode to iTunes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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