You could say Janine Stotz helps people get around death’s door. Her job is to help prepare and rehabilitate heart transplant patients at the Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center.
"It's a pretty great feeling to see them upright walking and happy,” she said. "To me, it gives me the most joy that I can experience outside of being a mom. They give us far more than I feel we can ever give them back."
Caregivers like Janine held a holiday party Tuesday with heart transplant patients who are now living a new life.
One year ago, Janine helped Curtis Dicky with his new heart. Her daily devotion to his recovery encouraged him to live life to the fullest. One year ago, he didn’t know if he would be able to see another Christmas, but now, he is spending time helping others as a volunteer fireman.
"I spent 10 years on having to depend on other people, and now that I feel that I am healthy, I feel that now it's my turn to give back and that's why I volunteer with a fire department," Curtis said.
One thing was clear about everyone's story at the gathering Tuesday--they couldn’t tell it without a smile.
"That's a smile of, ‘Hey I'm still here and it's because of everybody here that I get to get up and tell their story,’" Curtis said.
The stories of a meaningful life give the staff at Seton a purpose.
"I feel very blessed to have the job that I have to help make an impact or try to make an impact on these people's lives," Janine said.
Seton and the heart patients are both urging people to become organ donors and save a life.