Leslie grew up outside of Chicago, at ten years old, she moved to Connecticut where she met Pat through two of her brothers. She always loved children, and teaching, and graduated from a prominent college in Boston with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Leslie and Pat married in 1980 and she began teaching, and eventually, directing a towns pre-school program on the south shore of Massachusetts. Her nurturing loving manner served her well and was a good foundation and learning experience for things to come.
Over the next decade, she moved with Pat as his career dictated. She continued with her passion and profession by teaching school in Oregon, Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts. In 1988, in Arizona, she gave birth to their one and only pride and joy, Riley. Life seemed right on track.
While living in Florida, her husband began to feel ill. He was treated twice for the flu and pneumonia but, he continued to travel and work long hours. After they had moved back to Massachusetts in 1993 she realized that Pat was once again very ill. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) and hospitalized in Boston.
Leslie watched and cared for Pat during his decline over the next 18 years. They were riddled with ups and downs. His crash, or end stage heart failure occurred in 2011 and was sudden and severe. She and her son waited anxiously for weeks to see if he would survive.
She said once, jokingly; “I was thinking of changing my name to Stressley Sullivan.”
She and Riley endured, but the stress steadily increased after the crash while waiting for an LVAD. After he received his LVAD he was on life support, in a coma, and on dialysis for a week in critical condition. Subsequently, after four months of daily visits to hospitals in Boston, she brought Pat home.
At that point, she became his caregiver 24/7. Unfortunately, three months later, she had to return him back to the hospital, where he needed to remain until he received the miracle of a Heart Transplant on the day before Thanksgiving, Nov 21, 2012.
“Being a caregiver and mother, while trying to run a life and business is all consuming.
I lost myself in Pat’s illness for a long while.”
Leslie, along with her Heart Sister, Susan Romer, believe that these incredible experiences need to be shared in order to help others. They are trying to lessen the burden of those going through, or about to go through a similar fate. She knows by her experience, that she can change people’s lives and help create miracles for others.