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The Angel in Need of a Heart

Caregiver Shemere Perry and her daughter, as she awaits a heart transplant.

The Angel in Need of a Heart


For nearly a decade, single mom and companion caregiver Shemere Perry has tended to others, many among whose body’s last breaths were imminent. Beyond compassion, it takes a specific form of courage to remain at the bedside of the dying.

Shemere knows this walk toward the finality of life intimately. She, too, is at risk of dying.

Shemere has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and it is at the stage in which only a new heart will reverse the course of her life. Shemere is 38. A sad irony that such a caring heart now needs one.

Seeking: One Life
As the primary parent of a daughter entering high school, Shemere’s work as a caregiver to the elderly and medically fragile has allowed her to keep the wheels turning. She managed to build a carefully budgeted life. But, now, after a half dozen stints in the hospital and expensive procedures, her financial engine has stalled.

Yes, Shemere is an excellent candidate for a heart transplant, say her doctors.

But heart transplants cost money –a lot of money –and not just at the time of the procedure. As a transplant recipient for a precious organ, medical teams need to know that a patient can pay for the medications both before, and after, to best ensure against rejection. There must be an account set aside with proven funds.

“They need to see that I have support from family and friends throughout my journey of dealing with this heart disease,” Shemere said, “and all meds on up to getting a heart transplant and after.”

The Reality
Despite being counseled to reconsider her line of physically demanding work, Shemere continued with the support of a defibrillator and later a pacemaker. After a decade as a caregiver, simply switching careers with a severe medical issue wasn’t a viable option, and her employers were accommodating. But her condition continues to worsen, and now she’s often confined to her bed.

No work, no money to pay the monthly bills, let alone add to her heart fund.

Shemere’s inner circle, co-workers, and employers rallied, donating to a fundraiser in her name and an online donation page. The funds were enough to make up for her lost hours at work, but she’s still short, and her heart continues to fail.

“I never thought that I would be in this position and ill. It’s taking a lot to try to wrap my head around it and live to the fullest,” she said.

In the face of overwhelming medical bills, Shemere first lost her home, and then the storage unit that held her belongings. Later, the car was taken, and now her life insurance has been canceled, which was for her daughter.

“I have no insurance and medical bills are piling, so it’s a struggle every single day for my daughter and I.”

If you would like to help Shemere get a new heart, or provide general financial support, you can donate by clicking here: “Turn the Heart Light on for Shemere.” To follow Shemere’s progress, follow her Facebook page, “Shemere Heart Fundraiser.”

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