Cincinnati Children's Blog

11 Years and a Heart Transplant Later, She’s a Normal Little Girl

In December 2000, Dawn Werner began making funeral arrangements for one-year-old daughter Asia. Because the baby girl was born with multiple heart defects, doctors at Cincinnati Children’s expected her to live just a few more days without a transplant.

Hundreds of miles away, in Dubuque, Iowa, another mother faced heartbreak of her own. But, with five-month-old Cole Hollenback near death, his mother turned to her husband and said, “I want to make him a hero. I want to donate his organs.”

Now, 12 years later, Cole’s heart beats in the chest of a very active Asia. Asia and her family are passionate about advocating for organ donation and share Asia’s success with Cole’s family.

There’s still some worry about organ rejection. In about half of patients, the transplanted heart will fail within 15 years and a new transplant will be needed, according to Dr. Alistair Phillips, Cincinnati Children’s surgical director of pediatric heart transplantation.

But Asia doesn’t let that stop her. She recently brought home 11 medals from the Transplant Games of America – an accomplishment she shared with the Hollenback family.

Cincinnati Enquirer

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