Mom celebrates Mother's Day in SF with heart transplant

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, May 12, 2014
Mary and Shayleen Lara.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A young mom is celebrating Mother's Day from a San Francisco hospital room after recovering from a successful heart transplant. She developed a rare heart condition after the birth of her daughter.

Mary Lara is weak and can hardly speak, but says this is the best Mother's Day ever.

"Yeah I couldn't ask for anything else, it's wonderful," she said.

The 26-year-old from Reno is recovering in the ICU at California Pacific Medical Center with a new heart. She developed a rare heart condition called postpartum cardio myopathy eight years ago after giving birth to her daughter Shayleen

"And it turned into congestive heart failure," she said.

Mary was very sick. She was put on a heart transplant list last winter. The odds of getting a match were not good, but on Friday night doctors called with the good news.

"She was very calm," Mary said. "I was freaking out!"

The procedure took five hours. During that time, 8-year-old Shayleen never left her mom side.

"I was really excited and kind of scared at the same time," Shayleen said.

"We don't put patients on a heart transplant list unless we think they have less than a year to survive," said transplant cardiologist Dr. Leslie Campbell.

Campbell knew Mary didn't have much time.

"And last night I thought we couldn't give her a better Mother's Day gift than a very good, suitable donor heart and the opportunity to raise her daughter," said Campbell. "It's amazing."

"She's awesome, I love my daughter, she stayed strong, she keeps me going," Mary said.

Mary thanks her team of doctors and especially the anonymous heart donor. It's given her a new life and a chance to spend many more Mother's Days with Shayleen.