Author | The Hearts of a Girl
The Hearts of a Girl
As a child, she endured heart surgeries and heart and kidney transplants. In The Hearts of a Girl, Carmel shares her personal story of her fight for life. She has faced death several times, but her zest for a normal life keeps her driven and fighting to live. Now she’s written an inspiring book that will touch the lives of many.
Jessica was born with a rare and severe congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) as well as two other defects, Double-outlet Right Ventricle (DORV) and Mitral Atresia (MA).
Her mother was told that she would require a series of three palliative surgeries, culminating in the Fontan, in an effort to improve the flow of oxygenated blood - her first at four days old, the second at 18 months, and the third at 5 years of age. At thirteen, doctors revised her Fontan with a pacemaker, but ultimately there was no cure for her condition.
When Jessica's heart enlarged to twice the size of her fist, she was in congestive heart failure and there was nothing more the doctors could do, transplant was the only option. She was listed the following week.
On Saturday, September 25, 1999 Jessica received a heart after only three weeks on the waiting list. Nearly ten years later, Jessica went into kidney failure. Her younger sister saved her life with a kidney donation. It has been nearly 22 years since Jessica received her new heart.
She went on to receive her Bachelors degree from DePaul University in business administration and her Masters from DePaul in Health Communication.
In 2016, she wrote and published her memoir, The Hearts of a Girl.