Sheri Johnson was born with a “backwards” heart, where the two main arteries carrying blood out of the heart were switched in position. Blood wasn’t being pushed though her body in the correct way, so she wasn’t getting enough oxygen, leading to her having a purple tint to her lips, skin, and nails as a child. Johnson, now 56, has been dealing with the consequences of the birth defect much of her life, including heart surgery when she was 5. The fix had just been invented and doctors weren’t sure how long it would last; they hoped she’d make it past 19. She beat those expectations by decades – until she required a heart transplant in 2021 – but she constantly felt like she was living on borrowed time. Fast forward to 2021 when Johnson received a heart transplant, which her surgeon called a “Cadillac heart.” After being slowed down by her heart for a long time, she is now on the move. “Now, I’m riding my bike. I’m walking. I’m doing the classes at the gym. I’m going to the pool,” Johnson said. And she’s training for the 2024 Transplant Games of America, where she plans to participate in the 5K walk and 5K bike ride.

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