A Virginia man and woman who received heart transplants at the same hospital walked away with much more than they expected when the pair eventually fell in love.
Collin Kobelja, 29, was born with a heart condition and received his first transplant as a toddler. But in 2011, when he was 22, his heart failed and he needed a transplant.
Taylor Givens found herself in need of a heart when at 18, a cold virus reached her heart and caused viral cardiomyopathy, a condition that damages and enlarges heart tissue, leaving her heart failing.
The two didn’t know anything about one another during their hospital stay.
“We were in rooms next to each other but we didn’t have any type of interaction,” Kobelja told InsideEdition.com.
Though their parents met after their surgeries, Givens and Kobelja kept their distance.
After they both were released from the hospital, Kobelja and Givens would see each other at follow-up appointments at INOVA Fairfax Hospital.
Givens said she often tried to say hello, but Kobelja rarely spoke to her. He now says he was healing and sick at the time and did not want to talk.
But the pair later became Facebook friends and struck up a friendship.
A year later, Kobelja had to have another heart transplant. He eventually moved to California, but when he visited the East Coast again, he messaged Givens and the pair met at the hospital.
“Because I had met him in person before, it wasn’t like this was a brand new person to me, but it had been so long,” Givens said.
The pair said they felt a connection and knew they’d regret if they didn’t explore it. Since then, the pair had planned to get engaged but Givens was recently diagnosed with cancer.
“Even through the cancer process, we’ve…it’s been really, really hard but we’ve really been able to lean on each other,” Givens said. “It is amazing to have someone who you don’t have to explain anything to.”