Flemington’s Amy Leonard Celebrates a Decade of Life with Heart Transplant

(FLEMINGTON, NJ) – This month, Amy Leonard is celebrating a remarkable milestone: the 10-year anniversary of her lifesaving heart transplant. This anniversary marks not only a personal triumph for Amy but also serves as a testament to the generosity of organ and tissue donors. Amy now shares her story of hope to raise awareness for NJ Sharing Network and encourage people to say ‘YES’ to registering as organ and tissue donors to help save and enhance more lives.

Amy’s medical journey began at the age of 12 when she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and murmur. Over the years, her health deteriorated until she found herself in end-stage heart failure after giving birth to her first child.

“The toughest part was not seeing my 5-month-old daughter every day while I was hospitalized in the ICU,” said Amy. “I was homesick, and I missed her terribly. My family’s support was what kept me going."

Thankfully, in March 2014, Amy received wonderful news that a suitable donor heart had been recovered for her transplant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI).

“It felt surreal,” said Amy. “I felt both ecstatic and guilty at the same time as the heart came from someone who had passed away and made the generous decision to give the gift of life to others.”

Amy’s transplant surgery and recovery process were challenging, but she was grateful to be home to start a new journey. In the months and years that followed, she embraced her second chance at life with vigor.

“I altered my lifestyle to maintain a healthy heart,” said Amy. “I felt wonderful, no longer experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath."

Today, Amy, her husband Micheal, and their three children, Audrey, Sophia, and Charlotte, are forever grateful for Amy’s donor and the NBI transplant team who cared for her throughout her journey.

“My heart transplant gave me another chance to live and grow my family. We had two more beautiful girls after my transplant, and we are enjoying all that life has to offer. I am truly blessed,” said Amy.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a lifesaving transplant. To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

About NJ Sharing Network

NJ Sharing Network, headquartered in New Providence, NJ, is the federally designated non-profit organization focused on saving and enhancing lives through the recovery of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. NJ Sharing Network partners with an extensive network of 54 local hospitals to provide hope for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. For five consecutive years, NJ Sharing Network has reported organ donation records, and 3.8 million New Jerseyans are registered as organ and tissue donors, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC). NJ Sharing Network has also been recognized by NJBIZ for six consecutive years as one of the state’s ‘Best Places to Work.’ To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

PHOTO CAPTION – Amy and Micheal Leonard (Photo Credit: Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)


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