A new heart, a new husband.
When Lori Wiser married the love of her life in March 2019, she also decided it was the perfect opportunity to pay it forward.
After all, if it weren’t for Nebraska Medicine, she probably wouldn’t have a new heart or a new husband.
“I wanted to give back to the place that literally saved my life and led me to the love of my life because I was still alive,” says Wiser, who underwent a heart transplant at Nebraska medicine 10 years ago at age 48.
So when Wiser and Dave Dyas married this past spring, in lieu of gifts, they asked guests to make a donation to the Nebraska Medicine Transplant Patient and Family Experience Fund to help other transplant patients. The fund was created to support patients’ and their families’ critical basic needs, such as food, transportations and lodging, while receiving transplant care here. The fund also supports technology, education and activities that enhance the patient experience.
“Gifts to this fund can make a huge difference in the lives of patients and families during the transplant and recovery period who might not otherwise have the funds to stay with their family members during this difficult time,” says Meghan Perrin, director of development for the University of Nebraska Foundation.
“There’s no way that I can repay the people at Nebraska Medicine for what I received and continue to receive,” Says wiser. “This is one way I can do something for others and show my appreciation to Nebraska Medicine, so I can help other families going through the same thing.”
“Lori was so incredibly grateful for every person’s contribution to her heart transplant and recovery,” says Perrin. “This donation was one way she could express her gratitude and thank the patient care team and everyone at Nebraska Medicine for the opportunity to share her life with the man she loves.”
Life has given Wiser a lot to be thankful for in the last 10 years, and she thanks the staff at Nebraska Medicine for that. She got to meet her first grandniece who was born several month after her heart transplant. She has since become the great aunt to nine more grandnieces and grandnephews. She was there to see her parents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, and just when she had given up on finding love in her life, she met Dyas.
Thinking back on her experience at Nebraska Medicine, Wiser cannot offer enough praise. “They diagnosed me with congestive heart failure, nurtured me to a state where I was strong enough to become a heart transplant recipient, got me on the organ donor waiting list and them performed the transplant several month later,” she says.
“Their motto – serious medicine, extraordinary care – is not just words,” says Wiser. “Every single person that works there live that motto, from the doctors and nurses to the techs and maintenance people. If you’re not extraordinary and you work there, you’re not going to last long.”
Today, Wiser says she knows that every day is a gift. “I’m reminded of that every time I see one of my grandnieces or grandnephews,” she says. “I think to myself, ‘had it not been for Nebraska Medicine, I might not have ever known you.’”