written by her mom, Kathy
In December of 1995, a beautiful baby girl came into our lives by the grace of a courageous young woman, Kendra, who selected us to become Brittani’s adoptive parents. My heart and my tears overflowed with joy as I held my daughter in my arms, simultaneously sensing the devastating loss and grief that Kendra was experiencing. I never realized that such intense sorrow and joy could fill my whole being at the same time. Our miracle was someone else’s loss.
Brittani grew into a caring young girl filled with creativity and generosity. At 5 years old, she wanted to have a lemonade stand so she could donate the earnings to Children’s Hospital in Denver. Brittani’s quirky sense of humor delighted everyone around her.
In September of 2014, after struggling through and overcoming some difficult times, we took a trip to Steamboat Springs, for some fun and celebration. Shortly after we arrived, Brittani started feeling nauseous and complaining that her arm hurt. We wound up paying a visit to the emergency room at the Steamboat hospital. Brittani had never been diagnosed with any heart problems, so it was quite a shock when the cardiologist notified me that she was having a heart attack and needed to be transferred to Denver by helicopter as soon as possible.
The helicopter transported Brittani to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood. The cardiologists there discovered that Brittani had caridiomyopathy, which had allowed blood clots to form and travel throughout her body. A large clot had traveled to her heart, causing the attack.
After spending two weeks at St. Anthony’s Hospital, Brittani was transferred to UCH (University of Colorado Hospital) with hopes that they could save her heart or begin the transplant process. With the correct combination of medications, and close follow-up, Brittani was discharged after a four week stay at UCH.
In time we learned that Brittani’s heart had suffered too much damage to continue working efficiently, even with the help of medication. The hope of a transplant became a reality, and the process began.
In October of 2016, Brittani was once again admitted to UCH, where she would remain under close watch and constant care until a donor’s heart became available. On December 13th, just days before Brittani’s 21st birthday, she was offered a second chance at life. This time my tears of joy mingled with Brittani’s as we held each other tightly, in awe of the miracle she was about to receive. Once again, I was struck with the realization that our overwhelming joy was at the expense of someone else’s deepest loss and grief. It somehow felt full circle when Kendra (Brittani’s biological mother) traveled from Texas to Colorado to visit Brittani during her recovery and rejoice in this new beginning with us.
Brittani’s transplant surgery was a success, and her heart continues to beat strongly as she ventures her way into adulthood. I can’t imagine a more caring and competent medical staff than the cardiology and transplant teams at UCH. Our hearts (old and new) are filled with love and gratitude to Brittani’s donor and family, and to all who were and continue to be there for us on this challenging and miraculous journey.
Thank you Remington Family for helping us out. Samantha’s Angel Heart Foundation is such a beautiful way to share her legacy with others and keep her with you always.