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Mankato Native Recovering From 2nd Heart Transplant

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Mankato native is now recovering from her second heart transplant in 15 years.

We first introduced you to Alyssa Sandeen in 1998 when she was just 8 years old. At that time, out of the blue, her heart quit working. She received a new heart from a 5-year-old boy who was hit by a car.

After 13 healthy years, however, her heart failed and she flat-lined for two hours. She was resuscitated and immediately went back on the donor list.

On June 27, Sandeen got a new one and a third heart now beats in her chest. She’s now living at Gift of Life, a lodge for transplant recipients near Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“I’m one of those people. I will not let myself go,” said Sandeen, who is the youngest person at her transplant lodge.

She stays at the lodge at night and goes in to Mayo for hours of testing during the day.

“It’s been a perfect match. When they put it in, they didn’t have shock it. It went right in and started working right away, so I know this was perfect for me,” Sandeen said.

Sandeen doesn’t know whose heart she got this time, but she knows what it’s given her.

“That you’re gonna feel better, that it’s a possibility. It’s enough to keep going,” Sandeen said.

Sandeen is going to be living in Rochester and will visit Mayo regularly for the next few months.

The target date for her to head home to Mankato is Sept. 28. It’s still a very fragile time, because the first year is critical as far as rejections go. Even when she gets home, she will have to rest.

When she is better, she says after seeing how fragile life is her big goal is to travel alone and see the world.

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