Two hearts beating as one is the kind of cliché stuff you hear around Valentine’s Day or when you’re watching a romantic comedy on Netflix. But rarely do you imagine it having a literal meaning. Well, it so happens that in the case of Taylor Givens and Collin Kobelja, two patients in desperate need of hearts, it really was! You see, the two strangers underwent a life-saving operation back in June 2011 that gave them a chance to live a long happy life. But little did they know that the gifts that saved their lives, also allowed them the chance to find true love.
Collin Kobelja and Taylor Givens may very well have their happily ever after.
The 24-year-old Givens believes that everything happens for a reason, and her soulmate, 30-year-old Kobelja, totally supports that belief because they are both lucky to be alive and happy in love.
Givens and Kobelja had both arrived at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Virginia for the same reason.
They needed new hearts. Undergoing a transplant was something that Kobelja was used to, but for Givens, it was something that had just recently happened and it was unimaginably difficult to deal with.
When she was 17, Givens experienced heart palpitations and was having difficulty breathing.
Her doctor initially assumed she was having anxiety, but an X-Ray proved that her heart had become enlarged. They also believed that a cold virus had created a cardiomyopathy, a condition that wreaks havoc on the heart muscles.
Ironically, Collin Kobelja, her future fiance, was next door waiting for a heart.
He was hooked up to the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO), which helped pump blood out of his body, oxygenate it, and return it to him, just like Givens had been before she got her heart. He was born with a faulty heart and had gotten his first heart transplant as a baby.
Kobelja was 22 when he started coughing up fluids and vomiting, but assumed it was a stomach bug.
His ejection fraction was at 10 percent and he needed a new heart. On June 9, 2011, he got one, and opened his eyes three days later. As soon as he was fully aware he started crying because he didn’t know what had happened, but at least he was alive and well.