Marathon runner who received heart transplant meets donor’s parents for first time

Kristin N. Marx(GREENDALE, Wis.) -- Seventeen years after the death of their daughter, Pam and Tim Huber got a chance to hear her heartbeat again, thanks to Kristin Marx.

Marx met them for the first time in Greendale, Wisconsin, after connecting on social media. Her sister-in-law, a nurse, also brought along a stethoscope so the couple could hear their daughter Mindy Huber's heart beating.

Marx's donor, Mindy Huber, was 20 years old when she died from complications after surgery to remove a brain tumor.

"The time just felt right [to meet] ... I felt like I knew them," Marx told ABC News Thursday.

She called the Friday meeting a "surreal experience."

In 2000, Marx was a healthy, 20-year-old college sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Then, she got very sick. Marx thought she'd come down with a cold. A chest X-ray later revealed that she had an enlarged heart.

"Right away that night, I was admitted to the hospital," she told ABC News in a previous interview. "In my 20 years of life, that was the first time I was ever in the hospital. I never had a surgery, a broken bone, nothing in my life, until that very moment. It was my first hospital stay and it was terrifying. At the doctor's office, they told me that I would need a heart transplant."

For the next 10 months, Marx said, she was in and out of the hospital, as she awaited a new heart.

On Jan. 12, 2001, she received a heart from Mindy Huber. Eventually, Marx's good health returned. She returned to college in August of that year and finished school. She also got married and traveled. Then, she started running.

Since her transplant, Marx said, she has remained a very active person.

In October, around the time she'd just finished the Milwaukee Half-Marathon, she said that not a day had gone by that she didn't think about her donor family or about Mindy Huber.

On Saturday, Marx, 38, ran in the third annual Cream City 5K in Greenfield. And this time, she had two new members added to her cheering section because the Hubers were there.

"I just wanted them to see for themselves that I was doing my best to live for Mindy," she said. "This gift is so very much appreciated."



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