Woman carries around her old heart in a plastic bag after transplant
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Featured Image Credit: Jam Press
Instead of wearing your heart on your sleeve, one woman has decided to keep hers in a plastic bag.
Jessica Manning - who had a heart transplant after being born with half a heart - keeps her original organ in a plastic bag.
After being being diagnosed with several heart defects, the 29-year-old has been forced to undergo 200 minor and major surgeries.
With over 69,000 followers on social media, she is using her platform to spread awareness for her condition.
The student from New Zealand suffered from six heart defects and her life was a 'rollercoaster' before the transplant.
At just 19 years old, Jessica suffered complete heart failure and the same thing happened three years later, which 'destroyed' the rest of her heart.
She now keeps her old heart in a plastic bag in order to educate others - and for one other special reason.
“When I purchase a house, I want to bury it and plant a tree on top and dedicate it to my donor,” Jessica said.
“In New Zealand, within Maori culture, we bury our organs or body parts with us when we pass away in a sacred place.
“As a transplant recipient, it’s almost impossible to put into words how thankful we are, not just to our donor, but to the donor’s family.
“I’ve never known what it actually felt like to have a whole heart inside of my chest before and the feeling of having a full heart is honestly the most incredible thing.
“I can hear it in my head and everything I do in life, I do for my donor.
“Achieving my goals and doing all the things I love is to celebrate that my donor is still living.”
Her most asked question is: "What does the old heart feel like?"
The student explained: “It’s extremely tough, rubbery, almost like a tire and it’s not as squishy as people think.
“It’s in a preservative fluid called formaldehyde, which prevents it from rotting and decomposing for up to 30 years.
“I haven’t opened up the bag for that reason, but I did accidentally pierce a hole and ended up going to a butcher to reseal the bag."
She concluded: “I have never had a normal life, as I’ve always been sick and it’s been extremely hard mentally to start life over again.
“But, there is light at the end of the tunnel and no matter how hard the situation, you’ve got to have a positive mindset.”