Colorado woman receives new heart after waiting 125 days

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AURORA, Colo. --  A Colorado woman in need of a new heart received the gift of life on Thursday after waiting more than 125 days at University of Colorado Hospital.

Doctors estimate most patients wait a month or two, but Tammy Harper’s condition required her to have a strict match.

In April, Harper had been waiting 105 days for a heart.

“I’m very blessed,” Harper said then.

Harper was born with a heart defect but hadn’t had serious issues until the last few years. While she has dealt with physical heart pain recently, emotionally her heart has been broken for nearly a decade.

Harper’s young daughter passed away 8 1/2 years ago.

“You shouldn't outlive your children,” she said.

With hopes of saving other people’s lives, Harper and her husband decided to donate their daughter’s organs. They helped several people.

“I think she would be proud,” said Gary Harper, Tammy’s husband.

Gary Harper couldn’t help but think about how life has come back full circle. After giving the gift of life to others, his wife is now receiving the same gift.

“It’s priceless,” he said.

At this point, not much is known about the person who gave his heart to Tammy. All they know is it’s a man from the Denver area. One day Gary and Tammy hope to meet his family.

“You think about getting a heart, but there’s another person who lost their life,” said Harper. “Thank you for giving me my wife back.”

As of Thursday night, Tammy was recovering from her surgery at University of Colorado Hospital. Originally from the Western Slope, the Harpers plan to return to their home near Palisade for good in a few months.