My genealogist hubby doesn’t normally ask me to blog about what he is working on. The other day he found a story in the 9 September 2000 Tucson Citizen about Peggy Joyce Chapman Keppler. It is such an intriguing story he suggested I write a blog about it.
At the age of 7 or 8, Peggy was stricken with rheumatic fever. The resultant bacteria triggered the immune system and attacked the body’s tissues. The doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY had little hope for Peggy’s survival. The only option was open-chest surgery, and her family believed she was the first successful pediatric open-chest surgery performed. Following the surgery her parents were given no assurances, and told Peggy wouldn’t live past the age of 12.
Peggy was to live a quiet life, but being a “normal” child she found ways to do the things she wanted to do like dance and play.
This remarkable woman went on to survive three high risk pregnancies, a stillbirth, a bout with cancer and a back injury. In 1953 she had a second heart operation, and in 1983, open-heart surgery. The Tucson Citizen article was written when Peggy was 70 and awaiting yet another heart operation, this last one unsuccessful.
Peggy beat all odds. She didn’t let her ailment stop her. She had a family, worked, and contributed to society. She is a role model for us all.