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Two veterans discuss Gifts of Hope that gave them new hearts

Two veterans discuss Gifts of Hope that gave them new hearts
Posted at 10:07 PM, Apr 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-17 00:08:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY – In this week’s edition of Gift of Hope, we put the spotlight on two women who've served our nation; Roxanne Walden, a veteran and heart recipient, and Vernique Lynn, a navy dental tech--who was waiting for a heart and just recently received one.

Lynn enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, and later in life she got breast cancer. While chemotherapy got rid of the cancer, it also caused heart failure. She spoke to FOX 13 News while she was still waiting to receive a heart, and at that time she said her motto was to stay optimistic.

“Be positive in everything,” she said. “It may not come when you think you should have it, and by it I mean a heart. But, at the same time, it will come when it’s supposed to come.”

Four years ago, when Veterans Affairs sent her to Salt Lake City to wait for a heart, she had to leave her two children, Mykal and Genesis, in Atlanta.

Lynn said her other family members in California didn't believe in organ donation until she got sick, but now they're all organ donors.

“Fortunately I was put in the situation so we can have better awareness, even if it starts with my family, because I’ve heard there's a low percentage of organ donation in California. Our family is working to bring those numbers up.”

Lynn has become friends with Roxanne Walden, another veteran who got a new heart after a 2-year wait.

“When I woke up from my transplant, the reason I woke up is because I could hear my heart,” she said. “You don’t realize, just that sound, you don't hear it for so long--then all of a sudden it's just there, and that’s what woke me up.”

Walden said it’s the little things in life, like smelling fresh air and the ability to do things for herself, are amazing. Lynn said she has seen the good organ donation can do, and she encourages people to make that choice to donate.

“The family, they get a sense of pride in being able to help someone else,” she said. “And, of course, those that are receiving get a new chance at life, so in order to continue this life going, please donate your organs. Please, donate your organs.”

FOX 13 News spoke with Lynn about this story earlier this year, and we learned that about two weeks ago she received a heart. There are still many people in need of organ and tissue donations, and all you have to do to help is indicate “yes” on your driver’s license or state ID card. For more on organ donation, click here.

It’s also a good idea to let your family know of your decision, so your wishes can be carried out.