HEART STORY: Community Rallies For Transplant Patient

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A young metro woman found out she had a life-threatening disease shortly after giving birth. The young mom found herself on a long journey to get a second shot at life. And, the community is rallying around her.

Terri Friday had a great life, a wonderful husband and beautiful daughter. Aunt Carol Kisner says, "She loves interacting with other people, very loving, very caring, emotionally driven person. She's just a gem"

But, the 27 year-old's heart started failing during one of the happiest times of her life. Kisner says, "She found out she had cardiomyopathy shortly after the birth of her first child, her only child."

That was about seven years ago. Slowly the heart muscle disease made her so sick she could no longer work. She needed a new heart and went on the transplant list at the end of January. Kisner says, "We were really surprised when the call came just a little over thirty days later that she was going to receive a heart.”

Early Monday, March 3rd she got the good news. In a video that morning, she tells her daughter, "Mommy got a phone call tonight, and they think they got a brand new heart for me. Her daughter screams in excitement.

Then, Terri headed to Iowa City for a shot at a new life. In a video in her hospital room she chokes up tell supporters on Facebook, "I love everybody. Thanks for all your support your prayers. Really excited, glad this happened the way it did."

A few days later, Kisner says, "She's doing remarkably well, just more than we could have ever hoped for."

The community has been supporting Terri and her family, including a fundraiser that will take people to area bars. Altoona Chamber of Commerce President Mattia Hansen says, "This is kind of our social event of the year that everyone looks forward to. And, we always give some of the proceeds back into someone in the community."

The young professionals' group with the Altoona Chamber of Commerce is hosting a bar crawl. Members hope to raise $1,500 to $2,000 for the family as young professionals network. Hansen says, "It really is a fun time, and you get to give back to your community too. And, we'll be thinking of Terri as we go."

Terri and her family will be thinking of her heart donor, the person who made this happy ending possible. In another video, Terri tells friends, “Keep praying for me. Pray for the donor family because they're the ones giving me the biggest gift anyone could."

Terri is recovering at the University of Iowa Hospital. She'll be there for at least a few more weeks.

The bar crawl is tonight, Friday March 7th. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Old Town Tap in Altoona. Elite Party Bus will take participants to Fireside and Sam's Bar in Altoona, along with the Boat House in Johnston. It costs $20 to ride the bus.