The community rallied and raised more than enough to cover the cost of Jones's transplant. The first significant donation came from a Hartselle family whose 15-year-old son died after a liver transplant.
The fundraising campaign for Mike Hendon started in early 1986 and was called "Mike's Fight for Life." Volunteers raised more than $105,000 for the Hartselle High student who made progress after surgery, but died 11 days after his transplant.
Hendon's fundraising committee, with the support of his family, voted unanimously to donate $16,400 left in the account to Jones.
Jones carried on as normally as possible, until UAB officials called early one Sunday night in March 1987.
"They wanted a male heart because my heart has enlarged and increased the size of my chest cavity," she said.
Jones had mixed feelings about a donor heart because she knew someone had to die for her to live.
She got the bag she kept packed and rode to Birmingham with her mother and brother. The ride was very long, she said, but she dreaded what awaited.
Dr. James Kirklin completed the 5-hour surgery at about 8:30 a.m.
"When I awoke, the heart was beating so hard that my body was shaking," Jones recalled.
One of the first questions Jones asked during recovery was who gave her the heart.
"They just told me it was a 24-year-old male from Orlando, Fla., who was in a car wreck," she said. "I would really like to meet his family and tell them thank you before I die."
Ironically, something else she wants to do before she dies is go to Disney World, near Orlando, and meet Mickey Mouse.
"Mama, you are terrified of rats," her son said.
"Mickey is a mouse," she responded.
Jones hasn't worked since her surgery, primarily because she's required to take so many medications. She's down to taking 14 pills in the morning and six at night.
"I'll take medication the rest of my life, but I'm thankful that I've been around to see my children grow up and my grandchildren born," she said. "They are worth anything I have gone through."