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Stories of hope

Gwendolyn: blessed beyond measure

Gwendolyn Westlund

My name is Gwendolyn Westlund, and in October of 2013 I was given the glorious gift of a transplanted heart from a beautiful, selfless soul.

I do not know who she/he was, but I speak to them daily about life, my gratitude towards them and their family, and the ways I’m trying to pay it forward. I may not be able to do speeches or volunteer every day or even every month, but I can open doors for strangers, donate items to my local food bank or homeless shelter, smile at everyone as they pass by, and tell my story whenever possible. I post on social media regularly advocating for organ and tissue donation and the importance of registration and speaking to your family. Also, my husband and I, with a group, gather and deliver ornaments at Christmas to local hospitals around Christmas.

While I am a recipient, I am also on the wait list. Regardless of if recieve another organ or not, I am so tremendously blessed! I have already been gifted with nearly 11 years of additional life! I have an amazing and wonderful husband, who’s also my full time caregiver and working!

I went into end stage heart failure very suddenly, just six months after we were married. I’m also a cancer survivor. I’ve been saved several times. I’ve seen all my nieces and nephews come into this world and grow into beautiful little people. I’ve celebrated with friends and loved ones. I’ve lost a lot of my transplant friends, too. Not everyone has had such good fortune as me.

I am blessed beyond measure and try to live my life with joy every day! Please choose organ donation, register, and save lives like mine.

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