Mother from Point Pleasant, WV encourages organ donation following her heart transplant

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A mother from Point Pleasant, WV was thrilled to be pregnant with her third child and first daughter. But Brandy Barkey-Sweeney knew something just wasn’t right. The series of events that followed, changed her life and brought a community together.

“I woke up on my oldest son’s birthday and I was completely swollen,” Sweeney said. “I could not breath and for several months I couldn’t lay flat.”

She went to the hospital.

“They did blood tests and they came in and said you are in congestive heart failure,” Sweeney said.

It was Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, a condition she never knew existed. She gave birth to her daughter a few weeks early. She then had to go to Pittsburgh, PA for treatment. It forced her husband Brandon to make a gut wrenching choice to leave their newborn baby at the hospital in West Virginia.

“That was really hard for me I’d only held her 3 times,” Brandy Sweeney said.

The couple missed many firsts in their kids lives during the weeks she spent in the hospital. The community came together buying shirts and hosting events to show their support.

“That was the hardest part for me was wanting to live for my kids,” Brandy Sweeney said. “I didn’t think it was fair for them to grow up without a mother.”

This week she was able to see her oldest son’s first baseball game. Her faith and sense of purpose are even stronger after the trials she has endured.

“It is not me. I am not the strong one. It is God. He performed a miracle,” Sweeney said.

Brandy Sweeney hopes to meet her donor’s family one day soon. She has written them a letter to thank them for giving her a chance at life.

More information about peripartum cardiomyopathy: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/127/20/e622.long

More information about organ donation: http://www.core.org/

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