Heartfelt Hikes

I offer this page to show the value of and successes possible from the collective actions that lead to a heart transplant. Before my transplant in 2018, my heart performed at about 15% of normal so walking the stairs in my house was difficult. I tired quickly from any activity and therefore didn’t do hiking. I lived several years with an overly large, stiff, weak, and fragile heart on the verge of total failure at any time. My new heart performs as normal and now I’m an avid hiker who explores 10+ hilly miles with ease and joy. This page is intended to:

Thank organ donors for their generous and selfless decisions to give when they no longer can use what another person desperately needs to survive.

Thank every person who works now, and ever previously worked, in a transplant-related field, starting decades ago with research that guides what medical teams do today.
Recognize that transplant professionals in every specialty throughout the long chain truly are heroes, each sacrificed much of their own lives to learn and perfect their skill which saved my life and continues to keep me alive.

Make clear that surgeons, while indispensable of course, are not the only key people in life-saving surgery. The team is large, diverse, and inseparable. One of my surgeons modestly told me, “I’m a glorified plumber; your pharmacist keeps you alive.” I received critical care and compassion from more nurses than I can count. And I’ll always remember and commend the hospital’s janitorial staff who cleaned so thoroughly and cheerfully. None of them, nor I, would succeed without the others.

Transplant is a treatment, not a cure, so the second chance at life that I’ve received is an ongoing adventure that will have ups and downs and will strain, even frighten, me along the way. Each of these hikes was a heartfelt event for me throughout which I remembered how and by whom I was enabled to cover the distance and enjoy what I could not before.

I hike to honor the gift.

Denise Redeker
Heartfelt Help Foundation
Founder and Executive Director
2018 Heart Transplant Recipient

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Drake’s Estero

Guess what you guys? My son came for a visit! He hasn’t been able to come home for a visit in so long (thanks Covid-19…) so of…

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Islands in the Sky

Well, this weekend didn’t start out the way we had planned – but don’t most of the best adventures start out this way? Our original…

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Beaches of the North Sonoma Coast

Today’s adventure takes us to three absolutely gorgeous north coast destinations. All are must stops, but only one is really a hike…

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Heartfelt Hike along Limantour Beach

“The ocean fixes everything”. A dear friend gave me a sign saying this shortly after I got home from the hospital. She knew…

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First Hike! Tolay Lake Regional Park (Petaluma)

Today’s first hike is close to home for me and is one of my favorite places to hike! You will probably hear (read) me say that a lot…

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Agate Beach – Heartfelt Hike #2!

Well, this isn’t a super challenging hike, but if you’re in the Bay Area, you really need to visit Agate Beach. We met some friends here…

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What is Heartfelt Hikes?

Hi! Welcome to Heartfelt Hikes! We really appreciate you taking the time to read our posts and hope Heartfelt Hikes functions as a useful…