Heart to Heart

Do you have exciting plans for the holidays? I hope you’re staying warm, drinking hot chocolate, and having some fun in the snow (if you have any)! This break seems strange and special, being the first year I won’t  have to study or work on a project over holiday break, because of the new semester schedule. I must admit I left feeling relaxed, excited, and VERY happy I didn’t have to load up my suitcase with books for the flight home!

You may already know that I had a heart transplant when I was one week old. Now that I go to adult hospitals, I NEVER meet infants who have had a transplant. Just recently, I had an opportunity to meet a one-year-old named Blake, who had a transplant when he was 3 months old. Our connection began last year when I saw Blake’s story on the news in Rochester and was inspired by it. My parents often said one of their greatest challenges was there was no history of infants who had transplants, because I was born the year the transplant program began in Chicago! I never had a transplant model to look up to when I was born, and I wanted to encourage Blake and his family. I am sure that Blake will have a wonderful life ahead of him. I look forward to hearing all the wonderful things Blake will do, living life to the fullest with a new heart! I brought the family a copy of “Austin’s Gift, the Life of a Grateful Organ Recipient,” my autobiography, hoping some of my recollections would bring some enjoyment.

Below is a picture from my visit with Blake. Isn’t he cute? On Christmas day, our story will be aired on YNN News and I hope to be able to share the video with you next time I write a blog.

In the meantime, have a FANTASTIC holiday with your family.


About Lauren

Major: Multidisciplinary Studies

Hometown: Algonquin, Ill.

Why I chose RIT: After attending Explore Your Future (EYF), I fell in love with the campus, the accommodations for deaf and hard-of-hearing students are great, and I love the Rochester-based Wegmans supermarket!

Clubs/Activities: I am the vice president of the Masquers Drama Club, active in theater productions and bowl. I also am the author of Austin’s Gift, and sometimes make appearances related to organ donation.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy public speaking, being creative, performing on stage, promoting organ/tissue donation and studying about policies that improve the lives of others.

What I like best about RIT: I love attending RIT hockey games!

Favorite T.V. Show: “Chopped,” and “Masterchef.”

Fun fact about me: I have donated 10 inches of hair to “Locks of Love” twice, most recently to prepare for my role as Charlie in RIT/NTID’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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