By Denisse Moreno Monday, Oct 13, 2014 • Updated at 9:17 AM PDT
The nation’s longest-living heart transplant recipient, Lizzy Craze, is celebrating a very special anniversary: 30 years since she received the gift of life.
Craze was just two years old when she received the life-saving surgery. She is celebrating this week with her parents, her husband and the doctor who placed the new heart in her body three decades ago.
“They told my parents that life expectancy with the transplant was about five years and here I am today hitting 30 years,” Craze said.
Craze, who works in customer service in Silicon Valley, is an avid marathoner. She recently ran a half marathon in San Jose.
“Lizzy was one of the patients that pioneered this so we could do the studies that showed that hearts would grow if you put them into young children,” said Cardiologist Daniel Bernstein, who was also part of the celebration.
Although Lizzy Craze’s transplant was a success, her parents know what it’s like to lose a child to heart disease. They lost three children to the same genetic heart defect. But they also have a son who’s had two heart transplants. He’s surviving just like his sister.
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has completed numerous heart transplants like Craze’s since 1984.
NBC Bay Area’s Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.