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Flemington’s Amy Leonard celebrates a decade of life with heart transplant


Last month Amy Leonard celebrated a remarkable milestone: the 10-year anniversary of her lifesaving heart transplant.

The anniversary marks not only a personal triumph for the Flemington, N.J., resident but also serves as a testament to the generosity of organ and tissue donors. Amy now shares her story of hope to raise awareness for NJ Sharing Network and encourage people to say “yes” to registering as organ and tissue donors to help save and enhance more lives.

Leonard’s medical journey began at the age of 12 when she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and murmur. Over the years, her health deteriorated until she found herself in end-stage heart failure after giving birth to her first child.

“The toughest part was not seeing my 5-month-old daughter every day while I was hospitalized in the ICU,” Leonard said. “I was homesick, and I missed her terribly. My family’s support was what kept me going.”

In March 2014, Leonard received news that a suitable donor heart had been recovered for her transplant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI).

“It felt surreal,” Leonard said. “I felt both ecstatic and guilty at the same time as the heart came from someone who had passed away and made the generous decision to give the gift of life to others.”

Leonard’s transplant surgery and recovery process were challenging, but she was grateful to be home to start a new journey. In the months and years that followed, she embraced her second chance at life with vigor.

“I altered my lifestyle to maintain a healthy heart,” Leonard said. “I felt wonderful, no longer experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath.”

Today, Leonard, her husband Micheal, and their three children, Audrey, Sophia and Charlotte, are forever grateful for Leonard’s donor and the NBI transplant team who cared for her throughout her journey.

“My heart transplant gave me another chance to live and grow my family. We had two more beautiful girls after my transplant, and we are enjoying all that life has to offer. I am truly blessed,” Leonard said.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a lifesaving transplant. To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit

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