ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An emotional moment at the Red for Women luncheon as the recipient of a heart transplant met the father of her donor.
“Yesterday, my family and I met Klarrisa’s father and grandmother,” Anna King, transplant recipient, said.
King’s journey began when she was only twelve, with a trip to the doctor’s office.
“Her heart was mildly enlarged and so the pediatrician sent her to see a cardiologist,” Pam King, Anna’s mom, said.
That appointment started an 832 day wait for Anna’s new heart.
“I started to have some funky heart beats that were pretty dangerous. So my status was moved up on the waiting list and I was scheduled to have an ICD, or a defibrillator implanted,” King said.
Anna and her family showed up early to the hospital for the operation, but her bed was not ready. While they were waiting, a heart became available instead.
Steve Russell’s 22-year-old daughter Klarrisa died suddenly from what they believe was an aneurysm in her brain. Steve was faced with a hard decision, one that gave new life to Anna.
“Klarrisa wasn’t a registered organ donor, but he knew that that is what she would want and that she would want to help other people,” King said.
“I don’t know, almost like a daughter I guess, pretty much. She’s amazing. I don’t think I could ask for a better recipient,” Russell said.
This week, they met in person for the first time and cemented a bond started on Facebook and over the phone.
Both families are planning a backyard get together for later this summer.