Glenda Pay

Heart Transplant

March, 1993

I was devastated when I was told that I needed a heart transplant. I had been ill for about four months. I was in heart failure. I had all the symptoms. Shortness of breath, coughing, swollen hands, and feet, and I was constantly tired. I had cardiomyopathy, and needed a heart transplant to survive. A heart transplant! That was mind-boggling. I knew very little about transplants. I was born in South Africa, and when I was sixteen, Dr. Christian Barnard, performed the world’s first human heart transplant in Cape Town, South Africa.

I live in Missouri City, Texas, now, in close proximity to the Texas Medical Center and the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston. Sunday, March 7, 1993, this is my re-birthday.

At seven in the evening, my family and I were told the wonderful news. “We have a heart for you, Glenda.” What mixed emotions! We were delighted. I felt so good; you would have doubted that I was sick at all. But somewhere else another family had been told that their loved one was brain dead. That wonderful family agreed to donate the organs to save the lives of people they did not even know. Thank you! The surgery was routine and I recovered well. I have had no rejection.


...I do have to take anti-rejection medications every twelve hours for the rest of my life. I was able to see both my daughters graduate from high school and go on to college. The older one graduated in December 2000, and was married in 2001. My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in 2002. Since my heart transplant, I have volunteered my time to educate the public about the need for organ donation. I also counsel and comfort those who are waiting for organs and their families.

Heart Exchange member, Glenda Pay marked a very special date in March, 2013. On the 7th she reached twenty years with her transplanted heart. Always smiling, Glenda was absolutely beaming with happiness, love, gratitude, understanding, and confidence. Nevertheless, she was also humbled with the knowledge that her “re-birthday”, as she calls it, is truly a special gift.
At their March monthly social members of the Heart Exchange and guests were treated to a special talk by Glenda describing her journey from severe
illness to a healthy new life. Everyone in attendance could feel the emotions that surround her and drive her dedication to helping others. She is like a beacon of hope to those who are ill; a fountain of love and understanding to those who are worried. The gratitude she feels for her donor family overflows. Her happiness and confidence encourage potential donors to say “yes, this is the right thing to do.”

Heart Golf Classic

  • Join us Nov 6, 2017 for a great day of golf to benefit the Heart Exchange Support Group and its efforts to provide significant emotional support for patients awaiting a heart transplant!


    For additional information please e-mail us at or click here

Monthly Social

  • 2nd Saturday of the month at CHI St. Luke's Health–Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas - Cooley Auditorium 6:00 pm

  • Transplant Support Group Meeting

    This meeting takes place every Wednesday at 10:00 am at CHI St. Luke's Health–Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas


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