Heart recipient to celebrate birthday

Published 3:58 am Wednesday, February 13, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
Even at 6 years old, Anna Collins knew how precious of a gift she received when she was just a toddler.
Anna, who will turn 8 years old on Valentine's Day, was a heart transplant patient when she was 14 months old. Two years ago, the thriving child was introduced to the mother of the girl whose heart now beats in Anna's chest.
The emotions resurfaced this week as Collins described the period that led to the heart transplant as well as the time spent remembering it since the day they learned their daughter's fate.
Collins said she had no idea what lay ahead while she was anticipating the birth of her daughter.
That was not to be the case, however, as doctors continued to monitor her condition and perform procedures on Anna's tiny heart.
At 14 months, Anna had the transplant.
Collins said the days and months following the surgery were difficult, but the support of family and friends gave them the strength to survive.
Anna's big brother, Austin, is one of the people who continue to support Anna.
Support from outside of the family has been a significant boost for the family as well, Collins said.
Those obstacles do come up, Collins said. A depressed immune system means that Anna may be more susceptible to a cold or other illness than other children her age.
Anna's medical problems beyond her heart transplant include common ailments.
Anna will celebrate her birthday this year with the some of the same hopes and dreams of other girls her age.