Two young heart transplant survivors meet, form 'exclusive club' they never asked to join

Two Pleasanton girls are part of what they call an "exclusive club," but they never chose to join.

In many ways, Ziyan Liu is a typical 11-year old. But the 6th grader at Thomas S. Hart Middle school in Pleasanton was born with a congenital heart condition and had a heart transplant last July.

"I couldn't run. I couldn't do like hard activities or I'd get tired," said Liu. "I felt alone and different."

But it turns out she wasn't alone. 

A school nurse with the Pleasanton Unified School District knew about another girl who when she was a Pleasanton middle school student also had a heart transplant at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. 

And that nurse made what turned out to be a heart-felt connection.

"Before meeting Ziyan, I was the only pediatric heart transplant recipient in all of Tri-Valley," said Megan Mehta.

Mehta was born healthy but when she was 8 years old, found out her heart was bigger and weaker than it was supposed to be.

The Amador Valley High School freshman ultimately had a heart transplant two years ago.

"It was insane. You don't think there would be another person like you but there is," said Mehta.

"I was surprised and happy because there was somebody like me that's close and we can talk," said Liu.

After months of talking on the phone, the two had never met in person until Thursday, appropriately at Hart Middle School.

The two discussed matching scars and recovery stories and Megan shared why she wanted to help.

"Because someone did that for me," said Mehta. "It just makes me feel good being able to help someone in the situation I was."

Ziyan is now running and learning to swim and wants to help others just like Megan helped her.

They know no matter what lies ahead, they'll have someone who knows what it's like to walk in the other's shoes.