Kendra Stefan - Image from family members.
For many, senior year of high school is filled with special moments with longtime friends while celebrating a bright future ahead.
Still, friends and neighbors of Kendra Stefan showed her how much they're rooting for her with a special celebration Saturday night.
“She'll need time for her immune response to become normalized, so she has to not be around people right now,” said Leslie Siebert, who helped put together Saturday’s fundraiser for the 17-year-old Stefan. “Her attitude is amazing. She is cheerful, she is happy, she is recovering well.”
It's been a long road for Kendra, having 13 surgeries since birth.
She lived most of her young life with a pacemaker, but it was starting to fail.
Kendra's grandmother tells us she was put on the transplant list, and within months the call came.
“That's why this heart showing up when it did was just a miracle,” said grandmother Jennie.
The recovery will be long and expensive, which is why the community came together to fundraise for Kendra.
“When a member of our community is in trouble we really do tend to come together to try and do what we can to support one another,” said Siebert.
Kendra will spend the next few months both at home, and checking in with doctors in Seattle. She's also studying online to graduate on time with her class.
With her new heart Kendra's dreams go well beyond the graduation ceremony in May of 2019.
Kendra plans to head back to class at Vernonia High this February.
They are still taking donations here if you'd like to help out with Kendra’s fundraiser.
Kendra Stefan c/o Vernonia's Voice (local paper)
P.O. Box 55
Vernonia, Or 97064