LINDEN — Kathy Ferrise, 44 of Linden, recently received her second heart transplant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
“It is not what happens to you in life, but how you deal with it, that makes you who you are,” she reflected. “I am very grateful to have received the gift of life— twice.”
Ferrise shares her philosophy with her daughters, ages 14 and 17. After two transplants, she says, “I’m not like other moms. The girls are very strong and we just deal with whatever comes our way. We work together as a family.”
The whole family volunteered on Oct. 3 at Newark Beth Israel’s annual Heart & Sole Walk that raises funds to support patients at the Heart Failure Treatment and Transplant Program. Still recovering from surgery, Ferrise attended the event while her daughters helped with registration and her father and cousins joined in the walk around Verona Park.
Ms. Ferrise received her first heart transplant at Newark Beth Israel in 2001. “Actually, it is not unusual for someone who receives a heart transplant at a relatively young age to need a second transplant,” said Mark J. Zucker, MD, JD, Director of the Heart Failure Treatment and Transplant Program. “Heart disease can develop for many reasons that we cannot predict.”
Eight years after her first transplant, Ms. Ferrise’s right pumping chamber (ventricle) was not functioning well and she began to have symptoms of heart failure. Doctors performed a procedure to cut away some of the tissue that was restricting her heart, but that made little difference.
“I was retaining fluid which affected my kidneys. By last spring I was really slowing down,” she recalled. In August, doctors explained that she would need another heart. She was admitted to Newark Beth Israel and began the wait for a second donor heart. “Your life is up in the air but, this time things were a little easier because I knew what I was in for,” she said. “I was speechless at the miracle of getting a match in just nine days.”
Ferrise continues her recovery and is gaining strength everyday.
Donations to Heart & Sole are still being accepted. If you would like to contribute, log on to www.newarkbethfoundation.org or call Beth Tepper at 1-973-926-7951.
Kathy Ferrise (seated) is pictured on Oct. 3 at the Heart & Sole Walk at Verona Park with family members: 2nd Row- Kate Vaupel (cousin); Waverly Ferrise (daughter) Chelsea Ferrise (daughter) 3rd Row: Donna Vaupel (cousin); Madison Ferrise (cousin); Chris Shenesky (father) Ernie Vaupel (cousin).
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