LYNDHURST, NJ. — Stacy Sant'Ana underwent an unprecedented four heart transplants during her 23 years of life, and she faced each one of them with courage and positivity.
It is in her honor that family friend RoseAnn Almeida of Lyndhurst has helped start a GoFundMe campaign to assist the family after Sant'Ana succumbed to heart failure on January 27.
Almeida hopes the campaign will help draw awareness to the "bright spirit" that Sant'Ana was.
"She was a positive and shining force," Almeida told Daily Voice. "She overcame insurmountable odds four different times."
Almeida said Sue and Julian Sant'Ana of Kearny have spent much of the last seven years in the hospital with their daughter.
The GoFundMe campaign — which has raised $4,790 in less than two weeks — will primarily help the Sant'Ana family pay off their medical bills.
In the long run, Alemida said she hopes the fundraising effort will help draw awareness to Stacy and her life. She said Sant'Ana's parents are looking into establishing a charity or fund of some kind to memorialize their daughter.
They are particularly interested in promoting organ donation after Sant'Ana donated her body to help 39 other people in need.
"She really wanted her story out there," Almeida said. "She wanted to write a book about her experience."
Almeida hopes that by getting Sant'Ana's message out, she can encourage other people to be "Stacy Strong."
"We are in awe of her perseverance as a teenager and young adult," Almedia said. "We want to inspire other people to be as strong as her."
"That would be a great legacy."
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