Woman who received heart from Olympic coach vows active lifestyle

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Woman who received heart from Olympic coach vows active lifestyle
TEARS OF JOY: Ivonette cried as she crossed the finish line at her first sporting event Photo credit Twitter

A 67-YEAR-OLD Brazilian woman, once bedridden, has pledged to pursue an active lifestyle, even including canoeing, after receiving the heart of the coach of Germany’s slalom canoe team who died following a car crash during the 2016 Olympics.

Ivonette Balthazar, from Rio de Janeiro, had the heart transplant last year after Stefan Henze, 35, suffered a fatal head injury when his taxi crashed into a concrete barrier.

His death three days later shook the German Olympic team.

Balthazar, who suffered a heart attack in 2012, participated in her first sporting event with her grandson in September, walking three kilometres along Rio’s Copacabana beach.

A cut-out heart pinned to her shirt read: “I have a transplanted heart.”

She plans to push herself further to take up Henze’s sport.

“Today my goal is to do more and more. My body is asking for it, and I can’t let this heart go to waste,” she told Reuters. “I will get a canoe in the lagoon and paddle.”

Henze received a silver medal for slalom canoe at the 2004 Olympics before going on to coach the sport.

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