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Calallen soccer coach discusses being heart recipient

Calallen Head Soccer Coach Sarah Pipkin-Love talks about getting the gift of life
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Posted at 1:46 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 19:55:52-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas  — April 1 kicks off National Donate Life Month.

It’s a way to help encourage you to register as an organ or even tissue donor. Right now, 10,000 Texans are on a waiting list.

One lucky and very grateful recipient is Sarah Pipkin-Love, who received a heart in 2010.

“I picked up the phone they said ‘Hey, this is Mark with the Heart Transplant Clinic in San Antonio and we believe we found you a heart,'” recalls Pipkin-Love.

“I walked in and I said ‘Well, I’m Sarah Pipkin and I’m here for a heart transplant’ and they said ‘umm, our heart transplants don’t walk in’ and I said ‘well, here am,’” she says with a bit of a laugh.

Sarah wasn’t like most heart recipients.

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Coach Pipkin-Love playing soccer in college before her heart transplant.

Sarah spent her entire life as an athlete. Playing soccer in college, until her heart was so enlarged, it blocked her esophagus and affected her lungs.

“One time my dad was like ‘come on’ and I said ‘I just can’t walk that fast’ and at that point I realized things were bad,” she said.

Pipkin-Love could no longer move. On to a waiting list she went.

Until June 30, 2010.

A 14-year-old boy, whose life was cut short, had said yes to saving lives. His heart went in place of hers.

His family and Sarah met a year later.

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Sarah meets the family of Dillon Roberts

“(Dillon’s) Dad picked me up and he just wanted to feel his heart one more time,” Sarah recalls emotionally.

“We met and it was like we have always known each other.”

Dillon Roberts from Floresville saved five lives with his donation.

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Dillon Roberts was 14 years old when he died. He was an organ donor and saved 5 lives including Sarah's.

The Roberts family and Sarah have remained close, each staying in each other’s lives.

Sarah went to Dillon’s sister’s graduation and “she just said it was awesome to have a piece of my brother here.”

Sarah’s heart is again that of an athlete again. She’s the head coach of the Lady Cats soccer team at Calallen High School. She calls Dillon her superman.

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Coach always keeps a superman item with her to remind her of her real life hero

You could say her heart came from a true superhero.

Sarah adds "sometimes as recipients we are unsure of what to say after receiving such a gift. So on behalf of all recipients, we just want to say thank you."

Organ donation is extremely rare – less than 1% of deaths occur in a way that organ donation can be made possible.

To become a donor, click here.

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Here's what you can donate