I am writing to you on behalf of my daughter, Cristina Rodriguez, an independent-minded 20 year old. She is currently on the heart transplant waiting list in Miami, Florida. When she was just 15 years old, she woke up one morning with chest pain. Initially, doctors had difficulty determining the cause. When she was finally diagnosed, we learned it was myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) caused by a virus. They told us Cristina would get better; that things would improve.
Since that time, her heart has never been the same and Cristina has never spent a week without pain. In spite of this , she received honors in junior ROTC, graduated high school before she was 18, and bravely went across the country to live in Seattle, Washington to try something new. Even with her physical issues, Cristina worked a full time job, cultivated interests, maintained her own apartment and functioned as an adult way beyond the usual maturity of the average 18 year old. However, in February of 2012, she deteriorated severely making work an impossibility. She had to return home to me, no longer able to be the independent young woman she had worked so hard to become. Her doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital have determined Cristina is a good candidate for a heart transplant, her only chance of survival.