Stories of Hope

Zahra, heart recipient

A vibrant and active high school student, Zahra’s world was turned upside down when her health suddenly began failing, leaving her hospitalized and in dire need of a new heart. A donor’s gift gave her a second chance at life, and the inspiration to pursue a career as a pediatric cardiologist — so that she too can help children someday.

Zahra was 14 and enjoying her sophomore year when she started struggling with a severe cough, swollen legs and difficulty breathing. Initially diagnosed with asthma, an emergency trip to the hospital revealed that she had cardiomyopathy, a debilitating heart disease. Zahra’s heart was failing. She was placed on the national transplant waiting list and was given just six months to live. On Valentine’s Day, Zahra received her new heart from a generous donor who saved her life.

“I was terrified that I might lose my daughter; our whole family felt helpless,” said Zahra’s mother, Hana. “The gift of a heart was a blessing.”

Zahra has since returned to school and is back to doing everything she loves. Playing sports, involved with clubs and spending time with her many friends. She and her family all actively talk to members of their Muslim community — and everyone they come in contact with — about their story and the importance of registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

“Zahra needing a transplant happened for a reason. It has improved her life and given her a sense of direction in her calling to become a doctor,” said Hana. “We all thank God and pray for the soul of Zahra’s donor every day, and our family is committed to making sure everyone knows that by being a donor, you could save a life.”