My name is Courtney Thompson, I am 23 years old, and I am currently on the waiting list for a Double Lung Transplant. I have lived in Murray my whole life. I attended Calloway County High School and Murray State University to which I graduated with an Associate Degree in Business Administration. Living in a small town you would never think that there is someone from your small town who needs a transplant or who suffers from such a horrible disease. However, that is the story here. Every day I strive to be an advocate for organ donation and an advocate for Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive genetic lung disease. In order for me to beat Cystic Fibrosis I will need a lifesaving double lung transplant. I was listed for a transplant on December 29, 2016.
In order for Cystic Fibrosis to be present the mother and father has to be carrier of the CF gene. The child then has a 1 in 4 chance of getting both of the CF genes. I am the only on in my family with Cystic Fibrosis. We have searched through our family history and haven’t found anyone else who has had it in the past. People often ask me if I have a sibling, and I do, I have an older sister. They then proceed to ask if she has Cystic Fibrosis as well, I tell them no, but she is a carrier of the gene. People often wonder why I got Cystic Fibrosis and my sister didn’t, to that question I often tell them that I am the lucky one. I say that whole heartedly because I truly believe I am the lucky one. I feel Cystic Fibrosis has made me the person I am today, and without it I am not sure of the person I would be.
My lungs are currently functioning at 27% and I am currently on 3 liters of oxygen, which is why I am now listed for a transplant. Life with Cystic Fibrosis hasn’t always been easy but it has been the best journey I have ever been on. Every day comes with challenges but I am always ready to tackle them because of God and the people who stand with me and who stand behind me. I have a wonderful family who loves me and who is always by my side for anything that comes my way. I also have many friends who help care for me and encourage me to keep fighting the fight. If it weren’t for my support system Cystic Fibrosis would definitely defeat me, but because of them I refuse to back down. Also standing with me and behind me is my work family. I work at The Plaid Rabbit owned by Karen Cain. Karen has been one of my biggest supporters in my life. She encourages me every day but also gives me normalcy when it comes to working. Right now I am only able to work two days a week because of my health but every day is a wonderful day. I absolutely love my job and every day I wake up to go to work I wonder who I will inspire that day. Every day is different but every day I try my best to impact someone’s life in some way. I have many customers following my story and many customers who stand behind me and for me. As far as my co-workers, they are the absolute best. I love having them a part of my life and my story. They help me in so many ways and I see them as some of my best friends!
As far as my feelings toward transplantation, I have always said that one day I would have a transplant and I would live a perfect life. Now saying that and that actually becoming a reality are completely different. When my doctor told me I would need a transplant soon I wasn’t upset but I was very scared. Until you actually go through that process it’s hard to say how it feels. Like I said I have always wanted a transplant, but mentally and physically preparing for that has been very eye opening. My family and friends were very excited but also terrified, which maybe you could understand because the thought of losing a child or friend is just bone chilling. But for them to be strong I have to be strong!
There is no set time for a transplant. It just comes about at any given time on any given day. On September 4, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. I got a phone call about a potential set of lungs. Answering that call was easy, but it was also terrifying. My heart immediately sank for the family that lost a loved one because in order for me to get a transplant and new lungs someone else has to lose their life. After preparing for transplant my doctor soon told me that I would not be receiving those lungs because the only surgeon on staff had transplanted 3 other people within 48 hours’ time. People have told me how angry they have been that that happened to me, but I look at them and tell them, it’s okay because those lungs weren’t for me. It wasn’t my time to receive my transplant and that God has another plan for me. Someone else received those lungs that night and I am so thankful for that. But the reality of those lungs potentially being mine really set in. I was so thankful that that person decided to become an organ donor and give someone the gift of life. The gift of being able to breathe deeply, without coughing, the ability to live life with ease, the ability to give the person who received the lungs the second chance to do whatever they want to do. So even though I didn’t get those lungs I am still thankful and still hopeful. I know there will be another call and so I am patiently waiting. I am taking things day by day and I feel amazing! I have not felt this good in years, and I know God knew that this time would be crucial and he knew that I would be doing great! So for that I am thankful. Having Cystic Fibrosis and waiting for a transplant has made me think of things that no 23 year old should have to. But I take that with a grain of salt because it shows me that God has given me the opportunity to inspire other people around me and to inspire those other kids suffering from Cystic Fibrosis to keep fighting because one day C.F won’t stand for Cystic Fibrosis, it will stand for Cure Found.
So the next question you may be asking is how can I help? The answer I have, is to be a registered organ donor. It’s the simplest thing to do in your life. Just go up to your Circuit Court clerk’s office and Say “yes” when they ask you if you would like to be registered. That’s all it takes. No testing, no blood work, no nothing. Just a simple “yes”. You may ask yourself well why would I do that? You do that to give someone the ultimate gift of life. That way people like me, whether it be a lung transplant, heart transplant, kidney transplant, liver transplant etc. could get another chance at life. Give them the life they never had because of a chronic illness holding them back from life. Give them the normal life they deserve, the one that they strive for, the one that normal people get to live. Give them breathe, give them a heartbeat, give them a functioning kidney, or liver, give them sight so that they may see the world.