A Heart Transplant Candidate Filled with Gratitude and Hope: My Interview with Mary

Feb 3, 2023 | Main Blog | 0 comments

What do you think of when you see a woman wearing red? You may think of passion, courage, love or maybe something completely different! When you see a woman wearing red on February 3rd, know she is embodying all of these traits as she stands with her fellow women in spreading awareness around women’s heart health. Go Red for Women is an initiative developed by the American Heart Association to raise awareness and improve the heart health of women. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, with an average of 1 in 3 women taken by the illness.

Within the field of women’s health, cardiovascular disease is considered a health disparity as it disproportionately affects women more than men. Amongst women, women of color are at a higher risk of developing heart disease than white women.

When I spoke with Mary, she stated that health disparities are very real, and she spoke about the importance of education as well as being your own health advocate.

Mary is happily married with 4 children and 6 grandchildren. She has had a long career as a surgical technologist, and she enjoys being active particularly doing Zumba and walking her 78 lb. dog for miles! So, when she was diagnosed with a “bad heart” (cardiomyopathy) in 2012, it came as a total shock. With her diagnosis, an ejection fraction (EF) test was performed which measures how well your heart is pumping blood. The normal range is 50-70%; Mary’s EF is 10%. She is in the late stages of heart disease. Mary has worked with 3 different hospitals in total to be on the transplant list.

To be a candidate on the transplant list also means signing up for uncertainty. This uncertainty is unique in the sense that it moves from hope to acceptance and back again. There is the hope and planning of being a recipient yet there must be a level of acceptance if plans change, and one is not a recipient.

Mary manages this uncertainty by maintaining her positive attitude and a strong spiritual faith. If she does have a pity party, it is usually short-lived. With acceptance comes peace, Mary acknowledges that people struggle with what they fight, so she prays and has faith to maintain her peace. Mary shows gratitude for all that is good in her life and is supported by the love of her family.

“I try to be positive; I try to be true;  I say what I mean, I love people and I try to help when I can. I am a family person and enjoy our time together. I usually finish what I start. Out of all the things I have accomplished, being a mom is my best asset.” – Mary Marshall-Carter

To learn more about heart disease and how you can educate yourself and others, please visit the Go Red for Women page.

Her Nexx Chapter is a strategic alliance of the American Heart Association working to advance health equity and ensure all Americans have an opportunity for a fuller, healthier life.

Her Nexx Chapter invites you to join our free Community where women from around the world are connecting with each other’s stories, exploring different experiences, and transforming ideas.

The Future of Connection for Women


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Ariana Rabette

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