Nebraska woman beats the odds 30 years after heart transplant


A woman from Papillion has beaten the odds after a heart transplant.

Cindy Schabow just celebrated her 30th year of survival — that makes her one of the longest-living transplant patients in Nebraska.

"I hadn't really realized how bad my heart was," said Schabow.

Thirty years ago, a virus weakened Schabow's heart. Her condition got so bad that her doctor said she needed a heart transplant.

"That was pretty much of a shock because, at that time, I didn't know of anyone who had a heart transplant. I didn't know anybody who knew anybody who had a heart transplant," she said.

Heart transplants were so revolutionary then, only a few hospitals nationwide did them. Cindy traveled to Houston for her surgery.

"During that time, I had declined very rapidly. And they later told me I probably would have lived 24 more hours without the heart," Schabow said. "So when they came in and said, 'We have you a heart,' it was just the greatest news ever."

The transplant was a success. Now — 30 years later — her donor heart is still beating strong.

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