Thursday, January 13, 2011

20 years with double lung / heart transplant

Heart and lungsJim Waggener of Montana recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his double lung and heart transplant. A story, Transplant Patient Celebrates 20 Years, on, tells of Jim spending two years on the transplant waiting list due a genetic deficiency that prevented his lungs from fighting pollutants. When Jim awoke on November 2, 1990 for the first time following the surgery, he knew immediately that things were different. To Jim, "Every day is a gift."

At the time, Jim's was only the second double lung and heart transplant done at the Inland Northwest Thoracic Organ Transplant Center at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Despite battling some recurring lung infections, a case of viral pneumonia, and a non-contagious form of tuberculosis, he has done very well through the years. In fact, until his recent battles with the infections, Jim was walking two miles a day and recently enjoyed a gathering of 100 friends and family to celebrate his 20th transplant anniversary. Jim is extremely thankful for each new day and says, "It makes you aware of how lucky you are to get out of bed in the morning. You don't have to look very far to see someone who is worse off."

You can make a difference, too, by saving the life of someone like Jim. Please visit the Donate Life America website by clicking here to learn more about organ and tissue donation. While there, you can also learn how to sign up to become a donor in your state. 

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