DAKOTA CITY, NE (KTIV)– Growing up, 16-year-old Maria Wilmes says she doesn’t remember being able to run, or at least not for an extended period of time. Now, she spends 25 to 45 minutes a day on an eliptical.
“I mean, I remember just going at school, like, I would walks from, like, I don’t even know… 15 feet. I’d be, like, tired. 15-20 feet, I’d be like, oh my gosh, I need to slow down, I need to stop,” says 16-year-old Maria Wilmes. “Now, I’m like ‘no, keep going.’ Sometimes kids in the hallways are slow and I’m like, come on, let’s go.”
For the last three and a half months, Maria has been recovering from a double heart-lung transplant.
She’s finally back at school at South Sioux City High School but now, everyone else has to keep up with her.
“We just didn’t think it would ever happen, you know. Even the transplant was something that we though well, maybe we’ll do it. But, had really not given it a lot of thought,” says Maria’s mother, Gina Wilmes. “Just that this is the way that life would be and now that it’s so different she’s able to, yeah, we go out to the mall or whatever and yeah, she likes to see if she can keep us in the dust and we have to walk a little faster to keep up with her sometimes.”
Despite what she has achieved, Maria says sometimes the doubts creep back into her mind.
“Like, what if something happens, you know. I kind of freak out. But, my mom told me to just trust as always,” Maria said.
It has been that positive attitude has helped her through the worst, and accomplish so much. Maria has now made the dance team at her school. She’s living the life of a normal teenage girl.
“Starting to go back into more normal life. I’m just slowly easing myself back into the normal daily schedule. But, it’s nice to be back in school and to see my friends and teachers and you know, it’s nice,” Maria said.