NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Manatee County woman meets future husband while waiting for a heart transplant

Posted at 9:37 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 10:46:57-05

MYAKKA CITY, FLA.- A Manatee County woman met her future husband while waiting for a heart transplant.

Angela Horan was 36 years old and had three children.

She had congestive heart failure and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.

She said her heart was pumping at 8%.

"They said that I probably had a virus that you get all the time, but for some reason this time that I got it, my body attacked my heart instead of the virus," said Angela Horan.

In 2014, Horan said doctors advised her that her health was rapidly declining.

She was placed on the list to receive a heart transplant.

Horan had previously signed up for a dating website. She had no plans on dating and said she only wanted to meet new friends because she was new to Florida. Gary Bergstrom had sent her several messages before Horan agreed to meet him for dinner.

"I didn't know it at the time. She failed to mention at the time that she was dying and that she was on the heart transplant list," said Gary Bergstrom.

The two decided to date despite the obstacles ahead.

"I had never been in a situation where I was dating someone that was literally going to die if they didn't get a transplant," he said.

"We were so busy making memories that year prior to the transplant that I think we kept her so distracted. She didn't have time to think about death which was the goal."


The couple got together in 2015. Later that year, Bergstrom was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and was thrown off his bike. He had eight broken bones and tissue damage.

"We both had our own issues going on and people were like look at these two and we're still out playing pool and making memories," said Bergstrom.

By late 2015, Horan's health was declining. She received a call around 1:30 a.m. and was informed there was a donor heart. She was rushed to Tampa General Hospital.

"I brought her to the hospital the night she got the phone call," he said.

"I was scared. I didn't show it probably, but I was nervous. I didn't know if I was going to wake up," said Horan.

The couple has dated for the past six years and plan to get married in March.

In hospital

They said they tackled every obstacle in their way including COVID-19. They tested positive for the virus in December and recovered.

The couple is sharing their story because February is Heart Awareness Month. They also want to inspire others to stay positive no matter what obstacles they may face.

"You get told you have a challenge or you might die or the odds aren't in your favor, you have to make the most out of every single moment," said Bergstrom.

"I think I was positive because I knew I couldn't think about dying. I had to have positive energy and I felt like it would heal me if I was going in positive and I think it did."

Couple 2