Just when she thought all hope was lost, Cherron Gilmore received news that would change her life forever: she was getting a new heart.
The news was more than overwhelming for Gilmore, 37, who’d spent the last eight years of her life fighting to get on the transplant list for a new heart, according to PEOPLE.com. The mother of three had already begun writing goodbye letters to her children when she got the call in October.
Before then, Gilmore said doctors told her there was nothing more they could do.
“In August, [doctors] told me they were going to let me go,” she told the magazine, saying she was told she was “going to die.” “All I could think about was how I was going to tell my kids that I wouldn’t be here anymore.”
Gilmore added, “When I got my transplant, I woke up feeling like a whole new person. Now, life is new! Mommy’s back!”
Gilmore’s heart trouble started in 2010 when she was pregnant with her now 8-year-old daughter, Khori Gilmore. She was seven months along when doctors diagnosed her with a rare form of heart failure called peripartum cardiomyopathy, which develops late in pregnancy or after birth.
Gilmore, a Winston-Salem resident, admits she was scared.
“I had never heard of this disease. I didn’t know what to expect,” she said, recalling the moment she urged doctors to save her unborn daughter, saying “If it’s me or her, make sure you save her.”
Khori was delivered three months early and weighed a mere three pounds, the magazine reported. Gilmore said her heart condition only worsened after giving birth and wreaked havoc on her life. The doting mother lamented not being able to be there for her kids on back-to-school nights or student-teacher conferences because she was ill.
Over the next few years, Gilmore bounced from hospital to hospital in a desperate attempt to get her name on the transplant list. She was turned down four times for a myriad of reasons including her weight, the severity of her condition and even the fact that she had children by different fathers.
“One of the excuses was they didn’t think I was a good candidate because of antibodies, [the doctor] said when you have children with multiple men, you get their antibodies and they get yours and it makes it harder for you to find a match for a transplant,” Gilmore recalled.
Gilmore said the ordeal left her feeling like she’d been “blackballed.”
From late August to September, Gilmore spent two weeks on life support after doctors at a North Carolina hospital told her they’d done all they could do, according to PEOPLE.com. By that time, she’d already written goodbye letters to her children Cheyne Gray, 17, Gian Gilmore, 13, and Khori Gilmore.
Though sad, Cherron Gilmore said she used the letters as a sort of pep talk for her kids, encouraging them to never give up. Days later, something wonderful happened.
The mom-of-three received a call from doctors at the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center in Richmond, Va., who had heard her story and wanted to help. On Sept. 18, her name was placed on the transplant list and weeks later, Gilmore learned she would be getting a new heart.
Gilmore said it’s a shame she had to go to an entirely different state for the life-saving operation, but that she’s grateful.
“I’m still amazed at how fast everything fell into place,” she said. “It’s been eight years and I’m in awe.”
Watch more in the video below.