Brooklyn Maglinger waiting for heart transplant, hopes to raise awareness for organ donation

September 17, 2023 | 12:10 am

Updated September 17, 2023 | 12:20 am

At just 19 years old, Brooklyn Maglinger is awaiting a match for a heart transplant. As the community rallies around her in support, Maglinger hopes her story will raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.

Maglinger on Tuesday will head to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, where she will be hospitalized until a compatible heart can be found.

What started as an unexpected episode of Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) a few years ago has led her to the position she is in today — hoping to raise awareness about organ donation and use her experiences to encourage others to keep pushing through, regardless of the obstacle before them.

“I was 16 the first time I had an episode,” Maglinger said. “My heart rate skyrocketed into the high 270s. I was taken to Norton’s where they did a heart cath. After the first episode, they realized my heart was enlarged.”

With the muscle function declining in the right side of her heart, Maglinger got to go home. She was treated with medicine and hoped for improvement. Another episode months later sent her back to Norton’s, this time looking for more answers. 

“After several years of pain, illness, many doctors, and hospital visits, she was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). This is a genetic, very rare, and irreversible heart condition,” according to a GoFundMe page created by Kate Higdon, a family friend who first photographed Maglinger at age 4.

Maglinger enjoys reading, boating, laughing, going to movies, and spending time with her friends, as most 19-year-olds do. She was going to school to become a nurse before she had to pause for her medical treatments, and she has hopes to work in the cardiac department in the future.

Her friends and family just want the community to know that ultimately she is a young girl with her whole life ahead of her.

“She has a gorgeous voice that she inherited from her amazing Papaw, Larry Maglinger, who also had a heart transplant and recently passed away,” Higdon said. “She is just a girl … trying to live her life. This heart transplant is scary for us all and I can’t imagine what Brooklyn and her parents are going through, but I know one thing they shouldn’t have to worry about right now is money.”

Local realtor Kelsey Jarboe has also started a fundraiser in Maglinger’s honor with bracelet sales using the line “new heart, new start.” 

“Kelsey is one of the sweetest souls, and I look up to her as a role model,” Maglinger said. “She inspires so many, including myself by the way she constantly gives to the community and uplifts everyone she meets. She never expects anything in return and is driven to help others in any way she can.”

Regarding the transplant, Maglinger said it’s hard to comprehend the actual surgery but will be thankful upon finding a match.

“It’s a surreal experience to know your heart is coming outside your body. I’m trying not to worry about the worst-case scenario. I know I’ll feel better,” she said.

 Maglinger says she looks forward to being able to do things she used to be able to do, like walk around a grocery store or keep up with her friends. She wants to offer others hope that if she can do it, anyone can do it. 

“It’s really scary but I have to focus on the positive — it’s easy to be frustrated in the moment and feel sad and depressed,” she said. “What keeps me going is thinking I can walk again, hike if I want to, go to Disney. A couple of months is worth it. I can have my life back.”

September 17, 2023 | 12:10 am

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