LAUREN WAS TRANSPLANTED ON MAY 17, 2018. It was a very successful, yet difficult 16 hour surgery. Despite hitting MANY bumps in the road, Lauren is now home undergoing intense PT/OT/speech and visiting nurses. She's learning to walk again and to become independent, each day it's progress.. but it's slow. Thanks to her donor, she now has 2 beautiful functioning organs. Lauren's last heart had advanced coronary artery disease with rejection, transplant was her only means of survival. Donations will kindly go towards medical bills, 24+ medications and expenses to and from appointments in Boston.
On December 20, 2013, Lauren Meizo (27) was placed on the HEART/KIDNEY transplant list at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, Ma.. awaiting her 2nd heart transplant. Lauren has been in the hospital since Jan 8, 2018 and Lauren will remain there until she receives and recovers from her 3rd chance at life. June of 2017, Lauren was experiencing severe abdominal pain. Upon examination at Baystate Hospital (Springfield, Ma), it was determined she had a gallbladder infection and a drain was placed. She was rushed in ambulance the following morning by state police escort to Brigham & Women's Hospital, in Boston Ma. in heart failure. On arrival, my niece was placed on ECMO (a form of life support that takes over for the function of the heart and lungs). After a week and only a 5% survival chance on ECMO, she gradually began to improve, but her heart/kidneys would not recover fully. Spending the rest of the summer in rehab strengthening her muscles and learning to walk again, Lauren was strong enough to then have her gallbladder removed in early September. Unsure what exactly caused sudden hospitalizations, doctors were calling it 'heart shock' due to a virus from the gallbladder. In Dec 2013, after waiting 9 months and countless surgeries and procedures (including 3 tracheostomies, multiple feeding tubes, a LVAD (left ventricular assist device), a defibrillator, fistula repairs, countless blood clots, biopsies and heart cauterizations, Lauren received her first heart transplant. That night, she flatlined resulting in immediate action and CPR from her nurse. Her kidneys took a big hit causing future issues. As a young child, my niece was very active and healthy. At her 10 year old physical, her pediatrician diagnosed Lauren with scoliosis (curvature of the spine). She would then spend the next 5 years wearing a back brace for 20 hours/day . The Shriners in Springfield, Ma would shortly after diagnose Lauren with a very rare form of muscular dystrophy, taking our family 7 years to get a proper diagnosis as 'Laing Distal Myopathy (weakness in her hands, neck and feet). Lauren's heart function would slowly decrease until her sophomore year as she studied to be a vet tech at Mount Ida College. While she followed her passion for animals, my niece would soon be diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation (a backflow of blood caused by failure of the heart's mitral valve to close tightly). Discussion of surgically replacing the valve occurred until Lauren's health declined in October 2012. After spending a total of 18 months during a 2 year span, we find ourselves in the same situation but this time waiting for a kidney as well. Despite the current lengthy stay and the fact she is faced with another transplant, Lauren's spirits and mood have been impressively positive. Her mother, Lynne is living with her in the hospital again. My niece is constantly surrounded by support.. To help with cost of medical and living expenses now and after transplant, Lauren and I have set up a GoFundMe page to help, especially with the many medications Lauren will be on the rest of her life to help sustain the wellness of the new organs against rejection and failure and of course mounting hospital bills . Lauren had the chance at 4 more amazing years with us that her angel of a donor gave her. With given the extra time, she became an Ambassador & Spokeswoman for Donate Life and a Leading Lady multiple years for the American Heart Association. Gave the toast at her big brother's wedding and became an aunt again. Her infectious smile has touched the hearts of everyone she has met! Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, prayers and kind donations. It gives Lauren the feeling that she is not a lone and to never give up because she has people in her corner rooting for her even on her darkest days. To follow in Lauren's journey, please log onto her Mother's website www.strengthinaheartbeat.com Thank you & God bless! Strength.