by Sunny Layne
GRUNDY CENTER (KWWL) -- Many Americans wait for organ transplants, not knowing whether they will survive the wait.
Which makes a young eastern Iowa woman's story extraordinary. She survived to receive not one but two heart transplants, and she hopes to use her career to give back.
Meet Marissa Getting, someone you should know.
People know 21-year-old Marissa Getting for her heart.
"She has a great sense of humor, personality, you couldn't ask for a better person," Getting's aunt Amy Stahl said.
Getting tries to live life with an open heart.
Perhaps because she knows just how fragile the heart, and therefore life, is.
"I feel very blessed to have gone through this and survived," Getting said.
At just seven days old, Getting needed a new heart to live.
"It was scary. It was a new thing," Getting's mother Doreen said. "We knew she'd basically be experimental."
"I was born with hypo plastic left heart syndrome," Getting said, "where the left side is not developed completely."
She was the first baby in Iowa to receive a transplant. The surgery proved successful, at least until age 11.
"The left side wasn't really pumping."
Her transplanted heart developed coronary artery disease where the artery walls thickened, making it difficult to get blood to the rest of her body.
She then received a second heart transplant.
"I can finally climb the stairs and run without getting tired," Getting said back in 1999 after the surgery.
Now 10 years later at age 21, feeling healthy still, Getting marvels at her blessing of life.
"There are tons of people on the transplant list, not just heart, but kidney, liver, and it's so hard to get a transplant that for me to have done this twice and survived, I feel very blessed," she said.
"Whenever she goes to the doctor, they can't believe how normal her life is," Doreen Getting said.
Now getting wants to give back. She's studying to be a medical assistant. She also manages to hold down two jobs and an externship.
As for the future, the beat goes on.
"I'm ready to keep going!"
Getting certainly stays active. She just taught her niece how to ride a bicycle.
Reporter: Sunny Layne