Chicago Marathoners Connected by Transplanted Heart
Shae Brown is alive and running because of Fred Miller's late daughter, Alyssa.
Chicagoans Fred and Barbara Miller lost their daughter Alyssa at age 24, following a long illness. An organ donor, Alyssa’s heart was successfully transplanted into 49-year-old Texan Shae Brown in 2013.
Brown had been suffering from a rare, deadly type of cancer, whose chemotherapy drug had adversely affected her heart, bringing her close to death. The new heart not only saved her life, but also prompted her to make an amazing goal: to someday run a marathon.
Now, as the Chicago Tribune reports, Fred Miller and Shae Brown will run this Sunday’s Chicago Marathon together, connected through the life-saving gift of a heart.
Brown met the Millers in 2016, along with their other daughter Eva, Alyssa’s twin sister. During the meeting, the family was able to listen to Shae’s new heart—their daughter’s and sister’s—through a stethoscope.
And although Fred couldn’t bring himself to do what his wife and daughter had done, he did say something quite poignant to the Tribune: “In a way, I’ll be running a marathon with a part of my daughter.”
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