Utahn who survived to be a mother grateful for organ donor who saved her life

Posted at 10:03 PM, May 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 09:14:00-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Life can change unexpectedly, and this Mother's Day a Utahn is able to celebrate being a mother thanks to the gift of life.

Kally Heslop is surrounded by a lot of love. She and her children and grandchildren are over every Sunday for dinner, and it's this kind of commotion Heslop is so very grateful for and almost didn’t have.

“Suddenly I couldn't move, and so I yelled over to my mom.... and said, ‘Something's wrong’ and she said, ‘What, with the baby?’ And I said, ‘No, with my heart. My heart's not beating.'"

Three weeks after her youngest, Lindsey, was born in 1989, Heslop had a series of heart attacks. Doctors told her there was nothing they could do unless someone else stepped in. The woman who saved this mother’s life was someone who decided to become an organ donor.

“Because the family said yes, I was able to live my life and raise my kids, and I’ve had the opportunity to watch them grow up, and watch them graduate high school and college and see them get married, and now have children of their own, and I couldn’t ask for anything more," Heslop said.

After her transplant, Heslop went back to living an active lifestyle. She competed in the transplant games, ran with the Olympic torch, and tries to honor her donor.

“We don’t take anything for granted,” she said. “We don’t take our time together for granted. Every day is a gift. Every breath I take is because of my donor."

It’s a way of life her children have also adopted.

“Organ donation gave my mom a second chance in life,” Heslop's daughter said.  “I will always be grateful for her organ donor for putting, 'Yes' on that card.'"

To become an organ donor, just check yes on your driver’s license or ID card and let your family know your wishes. Learn more by clicking here.