Organ donation is something I have always been on board with. I signed up to be a donor when I got my license almost 15 years ago. But, I didn't ever think I would see the real impact of organ donation. That all changed November of last year. My dad received the gift of life from a young woman who died. We don't know anything about her other than she had a lung that was a match for my dad.
In 2013, my dad was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. It's a terminal lung disease with an average life expectancy of three to five years. Over the past five years, his disease would get worse, and then plateau, it would get worse, and then plateau. That's when he decided to start looking into the potential of a lung transplant at The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.
He underwent a series of tests. He was initially denied and but was then accepted into the transplant program. He was put on the transplant list in September. Between then and his transplant, we had three false alarms of going to the hospital only to find out it wasn't a perfect match. Then on November 28, he got the call that would ultimately be the beginning to the end of our worries.
The day he went in for his surgery, speaking a full sentence was hard. He would cough to the point of choking. He couldn't catch his breath. It was scary. But, this was it. He was getting a lung. Soon his life would be dramatically different in more ways than one.
That was November 29, almost five months ago. Since then, he is starting to pay golf, he is walking more, exercising more. We're looking forward to walking the PLAYERS Championship 5k in Mayo as a family.
Without his new lung, we didn't know how much more time we had. He can breathe which is something we take for granted. He'll be able to watch his four grandchildren grow up even more. He'll be able to walk me down the aisle when I get married next year.
Signing up to be an organ donor is easy. You can choose to donate just your organs. Your organs alone can save five people. You can choose to donate your tissue. That can save up to 75 people.