One Heart Saves Another

One Heart Saves Another - Gratitude Story

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Maureen O’Neil Hooker (pictured right) lived with heart failure for many years due to the damaging side-effects of chemotherapy and reached the point where she desperately needed an organ donation.

At the age of 67, she was given a second chance at life through the tragedy of a 26-year-old organ donor who died suddenly. Maureen got the phone call she had been waiting for, and in the capable hands of Samer Najjar, MD at The Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital, she received a new heart. "Dr. Najjar's excellence kept me alive then and it keeps me alive today. My experience has given me a new sense of purpose... I genuinely feel like I gained a new life in this hospital."

Maureen is grateful to everyone at MedStar Health, "an army of phenomenal caregivers," she said, who gave her this new chance. "Every morning when I wake to the sound of my new heart, I celebrate the gift of life. My gratitude grows with each passing day."

Maureen further expressed this gratitude by locating the family of the young woman who gave her heart, and became close friends with her mother (pictured left). Discovering her organ donor was a mother herself, Maureen established a scholarship fund to benefit the children of organ donors who gave the gift of life.

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