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Kristin Bozarth’s Heart Transplant

$128,873 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 908 people in 5 months
Family and Friends,

I’ve been trying all day long to figure out how to start this explanation, but there is no eloquent way for me to say “the love of my life needs an emergency heart transplant”. I suppose I’ll just begin at the beginning. 5 weeks ago my wife Kristin started feeling a bit under the weather. She had a persistent cough and began feeling weak and tired after any physical exertion. Like the powerful, selfless woman she is, she continued her work as a middle school social studies teacher, caring for and carting around our children to all their various after school sports and activities, and keeping a house with two boys and three labradors in some semblance of order. All of this on her own, as I had been working out of state for nearly three months.
She finally went to the doctor’s office where they performed a chest x-ray that showed fluid on her lungs, leading them to believe she had pneumonia. That news finally convinced her to stay home sick from work. Over the next two days her condition grew dramatically worse. The Doctor finally ordered her in for a CT scan which lead to an echocardiogram, which lead to her being admitted to the emergency room in Anchorage on Friday May 18th. The doctors informed us that her heart was only functioning at 10% efficiency, and the fluid in her lungs and swelling in her abdomen were actually an edema caused by her weak heart not being able to pump fluids properly.
After spending two days in the cardiac intensive care unit where more testing was conducted, the Anchorage cardiologists told us they had ordered an emergency medevac from Anchorage to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Two hours later we were in a jet headed South. Upon arriving at UWMC they ran every test under the sun and declared there is no real chance that her heart is going to heal on its own. They took her into surgery and installed a temporary heart pump to keep her other organs from shutting down while they figure out a way forward.
Today the lead cardiac doctor informed us that she will have to have a more permanent pump installed and she will be placed on the heart transplant list. She is currently at the top of the list based on how sick her heart is, but because she has type O blood, she can only accept other type O hearts. They gave us an estimated wait of six months to a year to find a suitable heart, but also said there’s really just no way to know how long it could take. One could become available tonight. Either way, the road ahead is going to be exceedingly difficult for Kristin and our entire family.
We will have to sell our home in Eagle River and relocate close to Seattle so that we can be close to the hospital if a heart becomes available, or if something goes wrong with the battery operated heart pump she will be wearing every second of every day until the donor heart arrives. She will not be able to continue working, but hopefully I can get a transfer to Renton, SeaTac, or some other airport in the area.
This brings me to the bush I’ve been trying to beat around. We simply can not afford all of the costs we are about to accrue. I have no idea how much of this million dollar (I wish I was exaggerating) procedure will be covered by our insurance, but I am certain that they will not cover the cost of us having to relocate to Seattle, and with Kristin not being able to work for the foreseeable future, we are officially living outside our means. Just before we left Anchorage, the head cardiac nurse came in the room and gave us a talk about what we should expect. One thing she hit on several times was that we had to start a crowd fund as soon as possible, because not even the best insurance covers all the unforeseen costs associated with a heart transplant and the life changes that follow. Several other people who we love and respect told us the same, so I’m taking their advice. I’m coming with my hat in my hand, more afraid than I’ve ever been of anything in my life. I made this page on the advice a woman who’s seen many families suffer from the monetary burden of heart transplant surgery and the subsequent treatment. I feel embarrassed and ashamed to even ask for money, but if it gives my wife a better shot at living a happy, healthy life, I will do whatever it takes. If you can spare a couple bucks, we would be more grateful than I can possibly ever tell you. If not, we completely understand. Please just keep my Beautiful Wife in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you,
Scott Bozarth
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Kristin Update 10/11/2018:
It was another day of good progress. Kristin went on three separate walks around the halls today and is down to just one IV medication. (There are still tons of pills, but less IVs is always good). Hopefully they will be removing her chest tubes on Saturday, then she’ll have nothing holding her back. (For those who don’t know, there are four, quarter inch diameter tubes coiled up roughly 12-18” long, each in her chest to help drain excess fluid that the body sends to area the surgery was performed in. If they don’t keep the fluid drained, it will build up in her chest cavity and make it very hard to breath or for her heart to beat properly. Anyway, those tubes cause a lot of discomfort, so the sooner they can come out safely, the better.
Other than that, Kristin is truly thriving under the watchful eye of the UWMC Cardiac team and the outstanding nursing staff of the 5SA Cardiac ICU. My hat’s off to all of them.
Thanks again to all who’ve supported Kristin and the rest of us through this ordeal. We’ll have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, that’s for sure.
-Scott
Kristin’s railroad track of staples!
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Well, day two after transplant surgery and she’s doing great. I can’t believe how good she’s doing already. They woke her up and removed the breathing tube yesterday afternoon and within an hour she was talking and joking. We were all prepared for that slow grind to recovery like after the LVAD surgery, but the difference is that this time she was in such better shape going into the surgery. Last time she had already been sick for over a month and was super weak, this time she’s a ball of fire.
The nursing staff at UWMC has been awesome, (as always), and once again we are all blown away by the support from our friends, family, and many of you whom we’ve never even met.

Thank you all for your support.
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SURGERY COMPLETE! She’s in the Cardiac ICU now and the nurses are getting her all squared away. The doctor said she is stable and the heart is in good working order. She’ll be knocked out for the rest of the night, so I’ll send another update in the morning. Thank you all so much for your prayers and positive wishes. I do truly believe they were heard.
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TRANSPLANT DAY! Well the day has come. We got the call Sunday morning that a suitable donor heart had been found and they needed Kristin to come in as soon as possible for testing to make sure she was ready to receive the transplant heart. All the test results were perfect, so they gave the green light.

She went into the operating room at 2:45pm today (Monday, October 8th), and the surgery is scheduled to last 10 hours. I will definitely post an update when she gets out of surgery tonight or tomorrow morning.

Once again, thank you all so much for your support and care. We have been blown away by the kindness and generosity of everyone. We could not possibly ask for any more financial support than you’ve already given, but I will ask you all to please keep Kristin in your thoughts and prayers as she undergoes this heart transplant surgery. Thank you all so much!

-Scott
All dressed up and ready for a new hea
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$128,873 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 908 people in 5 months
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