In June 2006, British law firm director Karen Jackson underwent a beating heart transplant, becoming the first woman in the U.K. to do so.
The procedure involves the heart being kept alive by continuing to have blood pumped around it, instead of being frozen, which is the usual way the heart is handled before being transplanted.
Karen’s story is pretty remarkable and having the designation of being “the first” is history-making, but Karen’s life is more than just a headline and she’s now working toward making sure others are mindful of their heart health, too.
Karen is now 51, a feat she never believed she would ever accomplish.
“I was always a sick child, which meant I missed out on things every child should experience,” she explained. “But a stroke at 22 was the beginning of a tough journey.”
“My heart gradually began to fail, and by the time I reached 30, I had Atrial Fibrillation (AF), an abnormal heart rhythm, which resulted in me having a pacemaker fitted and ultimately suffering from heart failure,” Karen said.
“From the moment I woke up to the time I went to sleep, I was constantly fearful about my heart giving up on me and I resigned myself to the fact that this was now my life – I saw no solution.”
Head to the next page for more on Karen’s story…