Taylor Givens and Collin Kobelja are both lucky to be alive. They’re also lucky to have each other, as the former heart transplant patients spend this Valentine’s Day planning their wedding.
In June 2011, Taylor and Collin both underwent a successful heart transplant on the same day at the same hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. For Collin, 22 at the time, it was his second transplant after being born with an abnormal heart. Taylor, 17 at the time, had recently been diagnosed with an enlarged heart.
Doctors weren’t sure if either would live to see the sun come up the next morning. But in a stroke of good fortune, two donor hearts became available in quick succession, allowing each to get the heart they needed.
As the two recovered from their surgery, the two families became familiar with one another, as
both were spending countless hours at the hospital. Knowing there was another young transplant patient in the hospital, Taylor was eager to meet with Collin. At the time, he wasn’t up for it, but because their families had grown close, the two connected via social media.
Finally, in 2016, their paths crossed again. Collin, having endured a third heart transplant in 2012, traveled to Virginia from his new home in California to visit with his old transplant team. At the same time, Taylor was back in the hospital to have her tonsils removed.
Taylor asked Collin to pop in for a visit while she recovered from the surgery. This time, Collin obliged. When they finally met in person for the first time, there were instant sparks between the two.
The two dated long-distance until Collin graduated from college in California and moved back to Virginia. Unfortunately, at that same time, Taylor was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma likely caused by her transplant.
But with Collin by her side, Taylor was able to fight off the cancer. She is now in remission, allowing the couple to move forward with their wedding plans. After both endured so much heartache, literally, things are finally falling into place for two people who are now a shining example of all the good organ donation can do.
“All of the things that fell into place for us to be together are wild,” says Taylor. “Everything has happened exactly as it needed to happen.”