Givens and Kobelja married in 2019 after dating and they now live in Maryland.
Taylor Givens was doing her coursework in Mrs. Ritchey’s AP Comparative Government class, going through a worksheet on the political institutions of China and talking with her friends about graduation. Hours later, she was taken to the emergency room, and to her and her parent's shock, she was told she had heart failure. As for Collin Kobelja, his parents found out that he had a congenital heart defect a few days after he was born, as per Washingtonian. Several years later, both Givens and Kobleja would find love where they least expected it, in the hospital recovery room.
Taylor and Collin received heart transplants at the same hospital, on the same day – then they fell in love. https://t.co/RCU3XlcOTc— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) February 15, 2023
The couple told CBS News that they both received heart transplants on the same day in 2011 at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. Givens, now 29, underwent a heart transplant after being diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy. Kobelja, now 34, was then going through his second transplant. After their surgeries, Givens and Kobelja were placed in the neighboring room for recovery. "There were really no romantic sparks at first because we were both miserable," Givens recalled to CBS News. But life had different plans for them. On the fifth anniversary of their transplant, they went to meet their doctors and met each other again.
Taylor Givens and Collin Kobelja received life-saving heart transplants on the same night. The two later connected online -- and knew their bond was deeper than the scars on their chest. @LesterHoltNBC shares their story. pic.twitter.com/R9AYRu8rZo— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) March 9, 2018
While they were both in town, Kobelja contacted Givens, and the two went out for dinner, where they got to know each other better outside the confines of the hospital. Because they had both undergone heart transplants, the pair found they already had a shared understanding of each other's medical journey.
"It was cute because we had to take our medicine at the same time, the same medicine," Givens recalled. "I definitely felt a spark and I wasn't expecting that at all." She said, "It was great to start dating someone to who you don't have to explain anything," adding, "You can just live your life in a normal way."
Taylor Givens and Collin Kobelja are a match made in heaven! pic.twitter.com/ZrE0dTNGcX— DoorsOfChange (@DoorsOfChangeSD) February 25, 2018
They also found they both liked small bookstores and diners, comic books and video games, Game of Thrones, alt-rock, and playing Pokémon Go at the Santa Monica Pier. Kobelja was warm and optimistic, Given analytical and pragmatic, each being the better half of the other. Givens and Kobelja married in 2019 after dating and they now live in Maryland.
After they both received heart transplants, Taylor Givens and Collin Kobelja recovered in adjacent rooms, unaware that the other existed. They had no idea that their live-saving procedures in June 2011 would give them a new chance at life — and love. https://t.co/0A1BQdgbgg— 6 News WOWT (@WOWT6News) February 13, 2018
Their days of medical issues are not behind them. Kobelja underwent his fourth heart transplant last year and Givens is in remission from lymphoma. But they have each other's support and that makes it easier. "Having him beside me, I'm not as afraid of things, even things like my mortality," Givens said. "I see him existing and making it through these transplants and thriving, and it gives me a new sense of hope and purpose."
"We've both been through essentially one of the worst experiences you can go through in life," Kobelja said. "It definitely feels like anything else life throws at us, we can handle."
Cover Image Source: Youtube | CBS New