Did you know that there are over 121,000 men, women and children waiting on an organ transplant to save their lives? With April being National Organ Donor Awareness month, it’s important to help increase public awareness about organ donation and the impact it can make on so many lives. In the U.S. alone, approximately 77 organ transplants take place every day, giving each recipient another chance at life.
Here is the story of one of those recipients, Marie DeLarge, who received a life-saving lung transplant:
“When I was two years old, I had the measles. Somehow measles contributed to my developing pneumonia in both lungs and thus, my fight for survival began. The doctors didn’t think I would survive, but I did and was left with scarred lungs and was later diagnosed as asthmatic.
All through grade school, I suffered with asthma attacks and repeated lung infections. By eighth grade, I was told that I had emphysema and, at 22 years old, while a college graduate, married and pregnant, I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Despite constant medical problems and frequent hospitalizations, I lived a fairly ordinary life. I did not want to limit myself because of my medical condition.
Each year, from 2004 - 2009, I contracted lung infections that landed me in the hospital, the infections becoming worse than the year prior. By 2009, there was no denying that I could not function without the use of oxygen.
One day, in early March of 2012, I was so “breathless” that I could not move. My body had gone into panic mode and would not allow me to do anything but struggle to breathe. There was nothing I could do but concentrate on surviving. I was in the hospital for seven days. Three weeks later, I was hospitalized again. This is when my doctors approached me about a lung transplant as my only option. I was transferred to the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute in New Orleans.
I received a bilateral lung transplant two days before my 61st birthday. It was such a blessing from God, so much so that I named my new lungs Faith and Hope!
Now, I am able to enjoy an active life. I can cook and bake for my family again. When I go to parties I can dance the night away and take line-dancing classes. I can play “run around” with my two-year-old grandson, attend football games to watch my oldest grandson play and I can babysit my newest grandson. (Before the transplant I could not even carry my grandson or attend to his needs.)
Recently, I reorganized my closet. (You know how hard that is.) I can also wash my own hair. WOW! All of these simple everyday things that people take for granted, things I was unable to do before my lung transplant.
Now, I have an opportunity to help others who struggle to breathe. That’s why I walk to fight not only for fresh air, but to help researchers continue to find ways to help those suffering from asthma, lung cancer and lung disease.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!
You can help to transform lives by registering to be an organ donor. Register at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMW) or online.