Mavis Carelse now 58 years old, married with a daughter and four grandchildren, was born with a “hole in the heart”. Rheumatic fever developed resulting in hospitalisation for a year and a six week long coma.
Her schooling was marred by her first stroke in 1973 and Nosebleeds throughout her high school days. She has had a number of strokes and three open heart procedures in 1980, 1984 and 1993 to replace her aortic and mitral valves and another in 2006 to effect valve repairs.
After this procedure failed she was scheduled for a transplant which was performed in 2008. Apart from the strain of waiting for a donor Mavis had meanwhile contracted tuberculosis and had to have 4 to 6 litres of blood transfused every fortnight during that period.
Her appeal for the other guests to become Organ Donors was echoed by Mr Clive Fox, Merriman Lions Club president who highlighted the fact that one registered organ donor in good health can save seven lives.
Although unable to work or drive Mavis is very active and speaks at ladies meetings, supports the Organ Donor Foundation and the Heart Foundation and does everything to encourage others to donate and save lives.
In answer to the question as to whether she felt any different as a result of a new heart she said that she previously disliked chocolate and loved birdsong. Now it’s the other way round as she now loves chocolates and hates hearing the birds sing.
Her amazing faith and positive attitude earned her the admiration of the more than sixty guests who together with Mavis and her husband Brian enjoyed a hearty breakfast.