Mother Worries for Future as She Awaits Heart Transplant

Posted at: 10/11/2013 10:47 PM
Updated at: 10/17/2013 11:12 AM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) --  She's a woman with a will to survive.  An Albert Lea mother of three shares her emotional journey as she sits in a hospital bed, waiting for a new heart. Numerous people have reached out to ABC 6, asking us to share the story of Josephine Boerner.

The 37 year old was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy nearly a decade ago. The same condition that killed her mother when she was nearly the same age. Josephine is back at Saint Marys following another setback.

Since first suffering from cardiac arrest at age 26, Josephine's health has been a seven year roller-coaster. "It would have its moments where it would take a drop, then hold steady again, then take a drop," said Josephine about her heart rate. Since labor day, there were two more episodes of cardiac arrest. Just last week, she was airlifted again to Saint Marys Hospital, and hasn’t left. "Right now my sister and my cousin Lori are trying to help me move here so I can be close to Saint Marys," said Josephine.

Still, doctors at Mayo have tried just about everything to keep her heart beat regular, from medications to putting in a defibrillator. What Josephine needs now, is a heart transplant, but worries her time is running out. It could take up to a year for her to get a heart.

"The reason it takes so long for people to get a heart is because there's not enough donors," said Josephine. Her husband Tony shares her frustration. "Watching her go through all of this and getting these shocks and just everything she has to go through, it’s not easy,"  he said.

He rarely leaves her side, trying hard to hide his worst fear. "I'm here seven days a week with her," said Tony. He's the one remedy that has Josephine staying positive. "He's been my rock," said Josephine.

She says her family and friends have been very supportive as well. Her sister, and two of her three kids also carry the gene. Though some can be just fine, they'll all have to be closely monitored for the rest of their life.

If you'd like to show your support, a benefit is being held next Saturday, October 19th at Chubby's in Albert Lea. It starts around 9 and will go on for most of the day.

If you cannot attend, donations are being accepted at the American Bank in Albert Lea. Checks can be made out to Anthony Boerner, PAYPAL or mailed to Josephine Boerner, 115 North Ermina Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007.