Updated: 02/15/2013 9:38 AM KSTP.com By: Joy Lim Nakrin
Valentine's day is also known as Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Day. It has special meaning for one Eden Prairie family, whose 3-year-old boy is alive thanks to a heart transplant.
Three-year-old Gavin Motzko was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at just seven months of age. His heart deteriorated quickly, soon leading to a collapsed lung and the beginning stages of kidney failure. So, doctors at Mayo clinic told parents Sara and Shannon that Gavin's only chance at life was a heart transplant.
Gavin was placed on a donor waiting list, until a small child's heart of similar size to his would become available. The news came quickly, but for his parents it was bittersweet. Shannon Motzko explains, "I thought when that moment would happen we would be happy, but I sobbed and sobbed and cried. We were starting to understand we could very well lose Gavin and when a heart became available, the thought that another mother just lost their baby was really hard. But that family was so generous to donate that child's organs to save Gavin's life and to save other children."
According to the organ and tissue donation organization Lifesource, 80 heart transplants were performed in Minnesota in 2012. 154 Minnesota are waiting for life-saving heart transplants now.