KCK transplant recipient to compete in world games - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

KCK transplant recipient to compete in world games

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Barb Sheble, from Kansas City, KS, is going to represent the United States in the upcoming games.  She underwent a life-saving heart transplant four years ago. Barb Sheble, from Kansas City, KS, is going to represent the United States in the upcoming games. She underwent a life-saving heart transplant four years ago.
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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

The World Transplant Games is the Olympics for athletes who are organ transplant survivors.

They can celebrate living and the way it was before they got sick.

Barb Sheble from Kansas City, KS, is going to represent the United States in the upcoming games. She underwent a life-saving heart transplant four years ago.

The 41-year-old was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. Her heart was the size of a football once doctors took it out.

Her new, healthy heart is giving her a second chance at life.

These days, Sheble's heart is the least of her worries. It is her arm she's concerned about.

"To get back into it now.  It is fun, sometimes frustrating, when you're not throwing that well," she said.

Sheble is training to compete in discus, shot put, javelin and ball throw.

"I was never a world-class athlete. I can't say that I was," she said.

Sheble is lucky she is here to throw at all.

Eighteen years ago, after finishing the season on her college track team, she started feeling ill.  Her heart was racing. She rushed to the emergency room.

"Long story short, they had to shock me for 16 minutes to get my heart back into rhythm," Sheble said.

Doctors told the athlete she had a condition where fatty, fibrous tissue builds up on the right side of the heart.

Her heart was failing. It was a devastating diagnosis for her active lifestyle. Sheble quit throwing. Then hope came as she received a heart transplant in August 2009.

"I'm eternally grateful for my donor. I don't know who they were, but I owe them everything," she said.

Through competing, Sheble hopes to inspire transplant survivors, people still awaiting theirs and potential donors.

"Part of what the games are about is showing you how good donating your organs is. It gives someone a life that they wouldn't have," she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 120,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ, and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ. One donor can save up to eight lives.

To become a donor, click here.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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