Arlinda Griffith and Mary Smith
Heart Recipient and Mother of Donor
At just 33 years old, Arlinda Griffith found out she was in the early stages of congestive heart failure after she passed out and was rushed to the hospital. Several years later, Arlinda’s health continued to decline and she learned that, in addition to heart failure, she was in dire need of life-saving kidney and pancreas transplants due to complications from diabetes.
“My last day of dialysis – before I got the call that there was a matching kidney and pancreas for me – I had a thought that this may be the day,” Arlinda said. “I thought ‘What if this is my last treatment?’ I knew it was a possibility and it felt amazing.”
And she was right.
“My transplant surgery went well and doctors told me that there was no sign of diabetes in my blood,” she said. “I was so thankful. I never thought I could feel that great. I felt bubbly and energetic. My whole life, I felt one way, and now I was different. God was watching over me.”
After a year of corresponding with her donor Eric’s mother, Mary Smith, the two women were able to meet. “I was so anxious and grateful to talk with her and her husband,” Alrinda said. “I wanted them to know how grateful I was. They gave me a second chance at life. What more could I ask for?”
“Through organ donation and getting to know Arlinda and other people, I truly believe Eric has gone places and he is doing great things on this earth,” Mary said. “And knowing what a great person Arlinda is has really helped me deal with my grief.”
“We have such a phenomenal relationship,” said Arlinda. “I thank God for her every day. We talk regularly and it’s therapeutic for me. Mary and her husband are both so easy to talk to. We have a wonderful connection, and I believe that this was all in God’s plan.”
Today, Arlinda is healthy and happy and has shown no signs of rejection. “I’m pretty much in great health now and feel fantastic,” she said.