Givens had been in the hospital since April 2011, and her ejection fraction had been critical.
Doctors didn’t think she’d make it, and as soon as she stabilized, doctors put her on the transplant list, until she got her heart. While she convalesced, she had heard of Kobelja because their families had talked, but despite being next door they couldn’t leave the room to meet.
Eventually, the future couple passed each other in the hallways and during medical follow-ups.
Givens wanted to be friends with Kobelja real bad, so they could share their experience, but he was in a different place mentally and wasn’t interested. But after he moved to San Diego, the two found a way to connect on social media.
This had been Kobelja’s second transplant, but it would certainly not be his last operation.
A year after his transplant, his arteries clogged up to 90 percent, leading to heart failure. He needed a new heart. But he didn’t have any symptoms, so he was shocked when the doctor told him his prognosis. On December 2012, he got his third heart, and this time it was successful.
In June 2016, Kobelja went to INOVA to thank the transplant team, and that’s when he met Givens.
Givens was also in the hospital getting her tonsils removed and she invited him to visit. It became obvious, even to her mom that Kobelja was flirting and they’ve been inseparable ever since. They did the long-distance thing and he planned to move to Northern Virginia after graduating college.
Before Kobelja could live near his sweetheart, they both got some bad news that ruined things.
Givens had a cancer caused by her body’s reaction to the heart transplant. It was called Burkitt Lymphoma. Fortunately, she had Kobelja with her and he was there to help her through her treatment. The best part of this story is that she is now in remission!