Emerson tries to get back on heart waiting list

Yard sale to benefit family this weekend draws outpouring of items
Posted:  Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 10:00am

Since April when Kim Emerson and her family shared their story of her quest for a new heart, the 34-year-old daughter of Mike and Tammy Fiore of Wiscasset has had a stroke, blood clots and other blood problems that had her in and out of the hospital but got her onto the waiting list for a heart months ahead of schedule.

But the odd mix of events took one more turn, a possible medication allergy that took her off the list four days after she got on it.

On Oct. 10, she heads back to Tufts Medical Center in Boston to meet with a blood doctor and, under a best case scenario, may leave the appointment with word she is going back on the list. Otherwise, the wait to renew her wait for a heart could take longer.

The family is having a yard sale this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8 at Maine-ly Pawn at 535 Main St. in Damariscotta to help Emerson and husband Travis, parents of Kandace, 5, meet expenses as the former Wiscasset woman, now of Washington, continues her lifetime of medical challenges.

She has beaten cancer three times since her teens. The third bout cost her a kidney at 28. She has nearly fully recovered from the August 19 stroke. It and the other recent problems appear to stem from getting a heart pump in June, but she needed it to live, and didn’t think she would make it to next February when she was first scheduled to make the transplant list after a required five years cancer-free, Emerson said. The complications after the open heart surgery to install the pump got her moved onto the list early. Then came the possible allergy that took her off it, but will not keep her off if her blood gets healthier, she said.

The niece of Wiscasset General Store owner Carla Chapman has congestive heart failure. The pump is Emerson’s third device. She already had a pacemaker and an internal defibrillator and still has both.

She has had some memory loss from the stroke and is still working on getting her handwriting back but was cleared to drive and in recent days, she helped collect and sort items for the upcoming sale. She said she was in tears over how much people were giving,  truckloads and trailer loads some of them, including a Jefferson woman who, like her, is a cancer survivor.

People could easily make money for themselves off some of the items, including kitchen sets, other furnishings and a Jacuzzi-type tub but instead they wanted to help the family raise money, Emerson and her mother said in separate phone interviews Sunday and Monday.

“I am so grateful,” Emerson said.

Fiore hopes holding the yard sale Damariscotta Pumpkinfest weekend will help on turnout. The sale starts at 8 a.m. each day, but early birds are welcome, she said. People can still donate items. Call her at 691-3772.

Emerson’s gofundme.com fundraising page “Heart Transplant on the Horizon” remains open.

Emerson feels better some days than others. The stroke was scary, she said.

On Monday, she was nervous about next week’s appointment, but she said she has an incredible support team in her family, who are more than that – they are her friends, she added.