Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:54 am | Updated: 10:56 am, Thu Mar 26, 2015.
By Kendra Evensen firstname.lastname@example.org
A former Idaho State University soccer player who has been referred to as the true “heart of a Bengal,” is recovering from her second heart transplant this month.
Ashley Paige Askwig Irvin received a heart transplant on March 12, but the next day her heart began to fail for unknown reasons.
She had already waited four and a half months to receive a heart, but her family placed her name on the transplant list once more. This time, she only had to wait 18 hours before a perfect match became available.
Irvin said Tuesday that the incident left her speechless.
“It doesn’t happen like that, it has to be a miracle,” she said, adding that she is very thankful for her heart, and yet she feels for the donor’s family.
Irvin received her second heart transplant on March 15, and this time things are going much better.
Verna Askwig, Irvin’s mother, said she was moved out of the ICU and to a regular cardiac care floor on Tuesday night.
“She is looking forward to taking a shower since she has only been able to take sponge baths for the last five months,” Askwig said.
Irvin said she still has right hand and arm weakness — a residual effect from a stroke she suffered in 2013, but added that “each day I feel I gain more strength.”
Irvin was playing soccer for ISU in 2009, but she eventually had to leave the team after doctors discovered she had an enlarged heart and diagnosed her with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.
Although that was several years and many challenges ago, her coach and fellow athletes at the university have not forgotten her.
They have referred to her as the “heart of a Bengal” and raised $1,000 to help her with expenses around Christmastime, said Allison Gibson, head women’s soccer coach at ISU.