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The San Diego Union-Tribune: Del Mar Woman Marks First Anniversary of a New Heart and Kidney

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently interviewed Shana Pereira, who on Christmas Day celebrated the first anniversary of her kidney and heart transplant being performed at Cedars-Sinai. She credits her cardiologist, Dael Geft, MD, associate director of Pulmonary Hypertension Research and Education Advanced Heart Disease at the Smidt Heart Institute, for her Christmas miracle. 

Pereira, 41, of Del Mar, was put on the kidney transplant list in 2016. In 2019, she received word of a willing kidney donor. But by the time all necessary tests were completed the following year, her surgery was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pereira received more bad news in 2020 when a heart stress test revealed she had blocked coronary arteries, ultimately putting her on the waiting list for a heart transplant as well.

Despite the setbacks, Geft encouraged Pereira, telling her, "Do you know how many people are walking around L.A. with heart and kidney transplants doing marathons? You have a special energy, and my job is to keep you alive."

The transplant team at Cedars-Sinai performs more adult transplants than any other U.S. hospital, according to the Union-Tribune. They manually kept Pereira's heart beating after it stopped on Christmas Day 2020 and successfully transplanted a new heart and kidney for her.

Pereira now works to promote organ donation and turn the tide for the 8,000 people on the national transplant waiting list who die each year waiting for an organ.

"This is an important message for me, especially at this time of year," she told the Union-Tribune. "Don’t give up hope. Thanks to organ transplant, my life turned into a Christmas miracle movie." 

Click here to read the complete article from The San Diego Union-Tribune.