|My wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in the spring of 2011 and was placed on the waiting list for a double lung transplant in July of 2015. Her disease progressed rapidly, and a few days before Thanksgiving of 2015, she was hospitalize with acute respiratory failure. As the days and weeks passed, waiting for a donor match, she had to be placed on advanced life-support, if she was to have any chance of survival. Very early in the morning, in mid December, our hopes and prayers were answered, a perfect match was found. Surgery and recovery all went well, and she as able to walk out of the hospital 20 days later.
Jennifer’s strength, determination, and attitude was inspiring to so many. She continued to recover at a pace that astounded, not only all of those that knew her, but complete strangers who had heard her story. She passed her nine month post transplant evaluation with flying colors. Unfortunately, two weeks later, she contracted a virus and had to be hospitalized. The virus was more than her body could handle, and ultimately, she died on October 16, 2016.
But this is not a sad story about loss or failure. This is a happy story about success and second chances at life. Jennifer and I were, and are, so appreciative of her donor and her donor’s family. She was given a second chance at life and took she full advantage of that opportunity. Her mission was to influence, in a positive way, as many people as possible, not just about the importance of organ donation, but about living life to the fullest, and approaching all of life, in the most positive way possible. She inspired as many, if not more, people in those ten short months, than she probably had in her previous 50 years of life.
There are countless people who would have never even met Jennifer if it wasn’t for the selfless, and so simple, final act of her doner. Jennifer, all of her friends and family, and especially myself, are eternally grateful for the second chance she was given.
Unfortunately, even today, there are more people who never get that second chance than do, because there are not enough registered doners.
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