Twenty years ago a middle-aged woman from Girrawheen was pictured on the front page of The West Australian, excitedly waiting for a heart transplant that she hoped would give her a few more years of life to see her teenage son grow up.
Liza Webb, then 48, was crippled by an enlarged heart that could not pump oxygen around her body, robbing her of breath when she walked even a few steps.
In 1992 heart transplants were not done in Perth, so she had to travel to Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital for a life-saving transplant that was carried out successfully in September that year.
She was told she might expect to live another 10 years, but was determined to make the most of the precious donor heart.
Today, Mrs Webb, 68, still lives in the same house in Perth and manages on her own, helped by her son Adam, now 38, who visits often.
She is one of the longest surviving Australians to have had a single heart transplant.
"When I was diagnosed all those years ago some doctors more or less said I wouldn't be around for long so I've loved proving them wrong," she said.
"I was given a really good heart, that's why I'm still here, but I've also looked after myself and made sure I kept taking all the anti- rejection drugs."
Mrs Webb said she was slowing down a bit but could not complain. She had promised doctors after her transplant she would live for at least 20 years.
"I had a young son then, and no one else to look after him so what could I do," she said. "I was so determined to live that I think it was a case of mind over matter."
The Heart and Lung Transplant Foundation of WA is hosting a high tea with Governor Malcolm McCusker and wife Tonya at Government House on Sunday to raise money for support services and research.Details are at www.trybooking.com/BYKB .
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