At only eight days old in a Chicago hospital, Lauren Aggen received a miraculous gift from Austin Texas – a donor heart that saved her life.
Aggen visits Austin today for the first time to share her story - Austin’s Gift, with a book signing and Q&A hosted at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD).
A transplant survivor, Aggen is now a third year student majoring in Multidisciplinary Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID).
Medication Aggen received the week she was born while awaiting a transplant caused her hearing loss, and she will always require anti-rejection medication. But, discouraged? Not Aggen.
“I traded certain death for a long-term medical condition, she says, I’ve been very fortunate that my heart matched and has done so well. Thanks to a family that made a precious gift, I have had many wonderful opportunities.”
In her book, Aggen - who fondly named her heart donor, Austin - chronicles her life and pays tribute to the family that gave her a second chance at life by donating their child’s organs.
“It is truly a miracle that people whom I never knew, and who never knew I existed, were willing to do that, so that I could be here today to write my story. Austin and his family have taught me a very important virtue: every day is a gift. I’m able to tell you my story because of Austin’s family, who, despite their great loss, were able to give a gift that will last me my entire life.”
WHAT: Austin’s Gift Author and Heart Transplant Survivor, Lauren Aggen
Presentation, Q&A and Book Signing
WHERE: R. L. Davis Auditorium
Texas School for the Deaf, 1102 South Congress Avenue. Austin, Texas 78704
WHEN: Friday, March 23, 2012 at 10:10 AM
About Austin's Gift: The Life of a Grateful Organ Recipient
"This is the life story of a 20-year-old college student who received a heart transplant at eight days old. Through personal reflections and the stories of parents and family friends, the author relates the fears, challenges, and successes of life as an organ recipient. The author also relates how the life-saving measures her doctors pursued when she was a newborn left her with permanent hearing loss and how this has shaped her life experiences. The book is filled with the joy of life and the gratitude this young woman feels for the opportunities she has had"
The Texas School for the Deaf is the oldest continuously operating public school in Texas. Educating deaf and hard of hearing students of Texas since 1856, the campus also provides outreach and educational resources for students, their families and professionals in the field throughout the state of Texas. With educational excellence and a strong belief in a culture and community, TSD supports students’ individual strengths and talents. TSD is an environment where students learn, grow, and belong.