GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A woman needing a heart transplant has raised more than $13,000 in two days after the story of her rejection letter from the heart and lung transplant team went viral on Twitter.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by her son Alex, 60-year-old Hedda Martin suffers from congestive heart failure after chemotherapy treatment to fight breast cancer severely damaged her heart in 2005. The post says her health took a drastic turn two months ago and her need for a new heart is now critical.
Martin's story gained national attention after a November 20th letter sent to her by the transplant team at Spectrum Health was posted on social media. The letter stated that Martin was not a candidate for a new heart until she could come up with secure plan to pay for transplant rejection medication. The committee recommended that she start a $10,000 fundraising campaign.
Martin's story got reaction from thousands of posters around the world after Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) posted the letter on her Twitter account.
A friend of Hedda Martin's tells FOX 17 that she has been too weak to talk to reporters after undergoing a procedure on Saturday. She did however report that Martin is overwhelmed by the support and donations, even saying that one person donated $5,000 toward her effort.
Martin's friend also says that Martin has great respect for her medical team and is filled with gratitude to her dedicated nurses. She says she is fervently hoping that she will qualify for a place on the transplant list. The friend added: "She wants to live."
In a statement released on their website, Spectrum Health says they do not comment on specific cases to protect their privacy. They did address the decision making process when approving patients for organ transplants:
"While it is always upsetting when we cannot provide a transplant, we have an obligation to ensure that transplants are successful and that donor organs will remain viable. We thoughtfully review candidates for heart and lung transplant procedures with care and compassion, and these are often highly complex, difficult decisions."
The GoFundMe page says any funds raised will cover the co-pay needed for two years of anti-rejection medication and the money raised will hopefully get Martin on the transplant list. Her page has set a goal of $20,000. According to the site, Martin will be able to go back before the transplant team on March 29, 2019.