RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho teacher is in a fight for her life. She needs a new heart and has no idea how long hers will last. She’s kept the situation quiet for months but now that the word is out, her students, parents and school family are joining forces to help.
Inside Eagle Ridge Middle School in Rio Rancho it’s business as usual for 7th grade life science teacher Christina Tucker. Looking at her you’d never know she’s in a daily battle with her own body. Just walking gets her fatigued all because her heart isn’t working how it should.
The news came during a visit with a new doctor for an ear infection.
“He said, ’you have a heart murmur,’ I said, ‘no I don’t,’ he said, ‘yup, yup you do,” Tucker said.
What came next were countless tests and life changing news.
“I was in shock, I was a 28, 29-year-old woman then all of a sudden I find I need a heart transplant,” she said.
Tucker was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes a lot of sudden heart deaths in young people. Her heart muscle is thick, filled with scar tissue and doesn’t have enough room for the blood.
Doctors can’t tell Tucker her how long her heart will work, so she’s about to be listed on the transplant list. Few people at school knew of her situation until recently because she still comes to work almost every day. But now the word is out.
Tucker’s medical bills are already piling up and the transplant will bring even bigger ones. Insurance covers just a portion. Parents, friends and family have joined forces to create an on-line fundraiser, hoping to ease Tucker’s worries.
The big thing though is making sure she gets a heart and makes it through this because her students need her.
Tucker has been told that her heart will likely come in the next 1 to 3 months.
For fundraiser information click here.