Bionic Bride to Meet Heart Donor's Family
Ally Babineaux among 19 recipients to meet donors' loved ones at Cook Children's
Ally Babineaux knows what it’s like to need a miracle. Dubbed the ‘Bionic Bride,’ she was in bad shape when the groundbreaking heart pump that was meant to keep her alive no longer worked. Yet somehow, despite being in a coma and possibly hours away from death, her condition improved just as the heart she so desperately needed became available.
Flash forward five years to today, Babineaux is once again on the verge of the unknown. For the first time, she will meet the family of the donor who gave their heart so she could live.
“It’s hard because one side is filled with so much loss, and I had so much gain,” she said.
Babineaux’s story may sound familiar. She made headlines in 2009 when doctors implanted a mechanical device in her chest to keep her heart from failing, a revolutionary treatment for her cardiomyopathy. One year later, she was making appearances on the Today Show and in People magazine, all while planning her wedding with her college sweetheart.
Doctors were hopeful that the pump would allow her heart to heal itself. By February 2011, however, Babineaux was in dire need of a transplant. She slipped into a coma and her family began praying for a miracle. For weeks it was touch and go. Then, almost magically, she improved just enough for a heart transplant.
“The one day my body was well enough to survive surgery is the day I received my heart,” said Babineaux.
She is nervous about meeting her donor’s family. Before today’s event, organized by LifeGift and Cook Children’s, Babineaux wrote the family a 17-page letter. In it, she told them how much their loved one’s heart meant to her. She also told them how she spoke to the heart, even sang to it, and how the heart would respond.
“I remember the first time I was able to go fishing again, I told my heart ‘I don’t know if you’ve ever been fishing before, but we are going today,” she said. “Every time I would talk to my heart it would start beating faster and I would get butterflies in my chest.”
Babineaux knows little bit about her heart donor. She was a 14-year-old girl from Fort Worth, Texas.
“After I wrote the letter, I was told that my donor’s family couldn’t get over the part about the butterflies. They said she was obsessed with butterflies.”
Babineaux is one of 19 organ recipients who will meet their donor’s families at Cook Children’s today. The event is one of the largest ever organized in the U.S.