Positively Jax: Mother receives lifesaving heart transplant

Laquisha Mathis diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Months after News4Jax first aired the story about a local mother in need of a heart transplant, she received the news that her life depended on.

Laquisha Mathis, a mother of five has been living with cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.

In February she was told she had six months to live, unless she received a lifesaving heart transplant. At the time under her health care policy she was unable to receive the transplant but thanks to her determined doctors and the stories on News4Jax, she says she is now receiving a second chance at life.

Last week Mathis received the news she's been praying for, a heart transplant.

"My doctor only gave me six months to a year and so I don't have that time to wait on Medicare to kick in," said Mathis.

They say difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and back in February when Mathis was told her days were numbered and she was prepared to begin a very long and hopeful journey.

"If Atlanta, Georgia, tells me I'm excepted, I'm going to pick up my life and just move," Mathis said.

News4Jax watched her, as her heart got weaker every month.

"I can barely clean up, do grocery shopping, wash clothes," Mathis said.

She couldn't even walk or play with her five young children, but her spirits would be lifted in September, when she was admitted into the Mayo Clinic and placed on top of the heart transplant waiting list.

She sat for two months, making flowers and butterflies -- receiving updates from her doctors, meditating all to keep from crying. But on Nov. 4 -- the difficult road and tears of sorrow would end and her beautiful destination would begin with these words from her doctor.

"He said ‘we have a heart potential for you. We have an offer for you and would you like it?' And I paused, because I was like ‘what?' And he proceeded to tell me about the heart I was just like yes. Yes I will take it. From that day, my life changed," said Mathis.

They were the words between life and death. Words that meant the difference between seeing her sister, her father, and the graduations of her five children.

"I couldn't stop crying. I cried from the time everyone walked in the room, to the time they push the elevator and they pushed me up to the fourth floor. I was crying. After that I don't remember anything else."

I cried so much that day, I haven't cried ever since. I don't have any more tears.

Mathis said she was blessed and her doctor, Juan Leoni explained to News4Jax just how fortunate she is.

"She's one of 51 a heart transplant list and she's one of 4,000 and the United States waiting for a heart transplant so she's very fortunate and we're very blessed to have organizations and people donating their organs," Leoni said.

"After that day my life changed. And I have two birthdays. Dec. 8, 1979 and Nov. 4 2015, my life changed," said Mathis.

Mathis who can now stand without getting tired and holds a heart pillow as a badge of honor said when she leaves her new life begins.

"Back in Feb. 12 my doctor told me that I only have six months to live. Here it is November... I'm off talking, walking, with the new heart and I got a lot of energy! And I'm so happy, I'm so happy every day of my life now."

Doctors will monitor her and she will be going home at the end of the week.

To learn more about the importance of donating and how many people are waiting and sign up to be donors, visit http://unos.org