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Shelley Osterloh ReportingThe family of a woman who lived on an artificial heart today presented the staff of LDS Hospital with a special thank you gift. Bambi Thomas died in August while waiting for a heart transplant.
Right after 24-year old Bambi Thomas delivered a baby girl on Christmas Eve, her heart began to fail from an extremely rare condition that develops during pregnancy. Doctors kept her alive with an experimental device, implanting two assist pumps, one for each side of the heart.
Not only is it rare to have two pumps, but she was the first in the Intermountain area to use the small 20 pound unit to power the pumps.
Bambi Thomas, April 2003: “I shake a lot from inside and anyone who comes to give me a hug, they can feel it too."
The pumps kept Bambi alive until August when she died waiting for a heart transplant. Today would have been her 25th Birthday. Her family presented the staff at LDS Hospital with a plaque of gratitude.
Danny Thomas, Bambi's Husband: "It’s amazing how much you can grow through serving people. How much more you love can grow and how much more you can appreciate people when you completely serve them, like I had the opportunity to do with her.”
Though Bambi never received her own heart transplant, she was a vocal advocate for organ donation, traveling the state with her portable heart pump. Bambi's mother says the words on the plaque are from Bambi herself as she wondered what kind of mark she had made on the world.
Terrie Chug, Bambi's Mother: "I hope when people read it they will be touched that no matter what your situation is you can go on and do something positive. Whether you are sick, whether you are on life support like she was, she still went and served."
Though the outcome was not what they all wanted, Bambi's family says they cherish the additional eight months she lived. Bambi's family has continued her work for organ donor education in hopes of saving the 300 Utahn's who are now waiting for a life saving organ transplant.