Chicago Tribune

'Heart sisters' bond lives on, even after one's death

Niki Glass and Karen Tompkins formed an unbreakable bond while awaiting heart transplants at Northwestern Memorial Hospital three years ago.

Nicknaming themselves the "heart sisters," they supported one another through holidays spent away from home, hundreds of needle pokes and IV drips, and the bittersweet day when Tompkins sobbed with guilt over receiving her donated heart first.

At the time, Glass assured her friend that she felt nothing but joy for her, and that her turn would come eventually. She was right: Both women had new hearts by Valentine's Day 2015.

But on the third anniversary of her own transplant Feb. 1, it was Glass who lamented the bittersweet way life has evolved.

After two healthy years post-transplant, Tompkins died in January 2017, at the age of 53. Glass, 40, who

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