Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

After Waiting For Over 10 Yrs, This Woman Had A Change Of Heart — Literally!

two-photo collage. on the left there is a picture of jaelyn and on the right there is a sentence that says "i had a change of heart"

When it comes to hardships, it’s not always about what happens to us, it’s how we cope with it that really matters.

When Jaelyn Kinchelow of Avon, Indiana was just 14 years old, she suffered an unthinkable medical emergency while running on her middle school’s track. She began to slow her pace, unable to keep up with the other students. Then, Jaelyn collapsed to the ground.

Jaelyn had suffered a heart attack. She was rushed into emergency open heart surgery to repair a tear in her coronary artery wall. Unfortunately, her heart had been damaged beyond repair.

“After surgery my heart was only functioning at about 5%,” Jaelyn recalled. “They didn’t think I was going to make it so they had to do all they could to keep me alive.”

Jaelyn spent eight days in a medically-induced coma. When she was discharged a month later, her life was forever changed. She was able to return to her usual activities and graduated from high school, then college. Inspired by the healthcare heroes who had saved her life, she started studying to become a nurse.

Nevertheless, a black cloud hung over her head because she knew her heart wouldn’t last forever. Last January, she started feeling symptoms again.

“I couldn’t do my daily activities,” she said. “I was too tired to walk upstairs. I went to the hospital and spent three weeks in the hospital in January and they decided I needed to be on the transplant list.”

For the next 21 days Jaelyn waited in the hospital for “the call” from the transplant list. In March, it finally happened. Jaelyn received a donor heart in a 12-hour surgery. To this day, doctors have no idea what caused Jaelyn’s old heart to give out at such a young age.

Shortly after receiving her new organ, Jaelyn got a letter from the family of the donor. She was so moved to read their heartfelt words that she decided then and there to make it her mission to increase awareness about the importance of organ donation.

“If more people were donors, there wouldn’t be a waiting list,” said Jaelyn. “Some people don’t make it because there aren’t enough donors. I want to put it out there, just think about it and do your research.”

In addition to her message about signing up to be a donor, Jaelyn hopes her story will shed light on some disturbing statistics. For instance, heart disease is the cause of one in every five female deaths in the United States.

Now that Jaelyn is recovering, she’s hoping to get back to her nursing degree! She has dreams of helping others live their best lives, and she’s determined to encourage organ donation and taking an active part in your health journey.

Share this story to spread her message even further.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.