LIFESTYLE

Incredible Photo Of Transplant Recipient Posing With Heart In Her Hands Goes Viral (Again)

13/07/2015 12:23 BST | Updated 13/07/2015 12:59 BST

A photograph of a woman holding her own heart in her hands is blowing the internet's mind - and it wouldn't be the first time.

Penny Smith, from California, received a heart transplant in September 2012 and, after four months recovering in hospital, decided to post this incredible photograph online.

The photograph went viral in 2013, after Smith's friend posted the photo on Imgur, but it has recently resurfaced and is attracting a lot of attention.

"This is my friend Penny. She is holding her own heart. She has survived cancer and crippling heart failure but never lost hope. She’s my hero."

View post on imgur.com

"I was saying goodbye to my heart, actually, because I felt like it got me through half of my life and I needed to say goodbye to it," Penny told the Daily News at the time. "So I was saying goodbye, and getting to know my new heart."

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Penny was 35 when she received a heart transplant, but it was something she had been waiting for her entire life.

She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins T-cell lymphoma when she was just three years old and went into remission aged six. As a result of the chemotherapy she developed a heart problem, which she managed her entire life, until she "went downhill" in 2007.

"I couldn't breathe, I could barely walk. So they put me on more meds, and I ended up going into the hospital for my heart transplant."

Penny has used her incredible photograph to send an important message to others on the transplant list: "Don't give up. Medicine nowadays is a miracle. Don't stop believing. There are people out there that can help you."