ROXBURY (CBS) – Cindy Washington of Roxbury was only 19 when she was diagnosed with heart failure so bad she went into cardiac arrest, twice, and both times she was revived by her mother.
Last Valentine’s Day, Cindy was on the transplant list, being kept alive with an artificial heart pump, but she still had the most unbelievable outlook about what others might have called her “broken heart.”
“You don’t have a broken heart,” Cindy said at the time. “It’s just a little sick and you need extra loving care. There’s nothing wrong with a little sick heart.”
This past December, on Christmas Eve no less, Cindy received the news she’d been wanting for years.
“Dr. Givertz walked in the room at 7 a.m. and said we have a heart for you,” Cindy explained.
Dr. Michael Givertz directs the heart transplant program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is one of Cindy’s doctors. “It was very exciting, mostly for Cindy, but also extremely exciting for our team,” he said.
It was on Christmas Day when Cindy received the ultimate gift, a new heart.
“With this I feel almost brand new,” said Cindy.
Dr. Givertz says Cindy is back to regaining a full life, a full life which includes Darien Clark: her beau, her sweetheart, her valentine.
“I love you from, you know, the tops of your head to the soles of your feet,” Darien said to Cindy.
Darien hasn’t left her side since high school, well before she got sick.
“I think he’s a very strong man to go to work and go to the hospital and deal with just me with the heart condition,” said Cindy. “You know, it’s a lot.”
Darien said there have been a lot of ups and downs and that he has been sad and depressed at times. “But it made me stronger just being here with her and wanting to support her and doing for her,” Darien explained.
And Darien says he’s not going anywhere.
“You’re my heart, my rock, my soul, my anchor, my chain,” Darien told Cindy while looking into her eyes. “A bond that will never be broken. It’s unbreakable. We’re strong and we’re going to stay strong. And I’m not ever going to let you go.”
So while Cindy insists she never really had a broken heart, there’s no doubt this Valentine’s Day, her heart is truly full.
Cindy and Darien have been together for nine years, engaged for eight. And while there are no plans for a wedding yet, they both say they have their hearts in the right place.