Bridget is a 21 year old student at Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington D.C. She just completed her junior year and has been on the Dean’s list every semester. Her dream is to become a teacher. We are reaching out to the community to help her realize this dream after recently suffering catastrophic complications during aortic valve replacement surgery last month.
Bridget was born with several congenital heart defects requiring heart surgery at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 15 years of age. The surgery to replace her valve was on May 15, 2017. She has required regular cardiac care throughout her life but never let health concerns stop her from doing what she wanted to do. While at CUA she was a member of the sailing team, was very active with campus ministry, tutored for DC READS and went on a service trip to Jamaica.
After a routine cardiac checkup revealed aortic stenosis, Bridget planned to have her valve replaced, recover over the summer and return to CUA in the fall to student teach and graduate with her class in May 2018. Unfortunately, Bridget suffered irreversible damage to her heart during the surgery, which meant the only option for life was a heart transplant. She was on extraordinary life support measures from May 15, 2017 until May 25, 2017. Bridget was listed for a heart with Gift of Life on May 24, and miraculously a match was made in 6 hours, and she underwent heart transplant surgery on May 25, 2017. She also suffered compartment syndrome of her left leg from complications during the initial surgery. She underwent several surgeries to try and save her leg, which unfortunately were not successful. Her leg had to be amputated on June 12, 2017. She is recovering from transplant but will require lifelong anti-rejection medication, heart biopsies and follow up. She is facing a prolonged care and rehabilitation because of the combined recovery from transplant and amputation. She has been in the hospital for over a month at this point and will require an extended stay in the University of Pennsylvania’s rehabilitation hospital. The cost of housing while hospitalized and at rehab, prosthetics and handicap accessibility of her home will be great. She will require a great deal of care, for which her mother is taking a leave from work and will lose her full-time income. Sadly, Bridget’s college and life course is changing, but with the help of her family, friends, and community we are hoping for the best recovery possible.
The outpouring of love, concern and prayer throughout her illness has been truly amazing and we are very grateful. It cannot be denied that prayer is powerful when looking at the timing of quick transplantation with perfect matching for Bridget. During this time, family, friends and strangers have continually asked “What can we do to help?” We are asking now for your generosity and help by contributing to our fund to “Get Bridget Back on her Feet!”
Thank you for taking the time to read our campaign and feel free to inquire about Bridget’s progress!
- Elizabeth Shaffern
- Erin Cox
- Richard Alcorn
- Marian Ferguson
Organizer and beneficiary
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