One year after the transplant, Sharol and Marlene sought to meet each other. In an ironic twist of fate, the two found they lived just two miles apart.
Amanda was a 27-year-old oncology nurse, working at a job she loved, when life took a hard turn – end stage lung disease.
Since she was 4 years old, Amanda and her family had known she had Cystic Fibrosis. But for more than two decades, she had been mostly healthy, even as her chronic, progressive lung disease remained stable. Amanda grew up, went to school, and got her nursing degree. Then, just 4 years into her career as an oncology nurse, her lungs began to fail. In 2017, Amanda made the difficult decision to stop working. By the time she was added to the lung transplant waiting list in July 2018, she was on supplemental oxygen full time.
“I was fighting every day to survive,” Amanda shares. “My lungs were constantly filled with congestion and crud. I had fevers constantly. Showers were the main event of the day and took all of my energy. Eating made me short of breath. I relied on family and friends to help me with almost everything.”
Amanda’s wait for donor lungs was only five and a half months, but it was grueling. She describes it: “I could feel my breath being stolen from me every day, and I didn’t know when or if the call would come. I didn’t know how to pray. How do you ask God for someone else’s lungs? I had to let go of dreams, future plans, my life, and found peace while still somehow holding onto the hope that I would get a call in time.”
Amanda did receive the call in time – at 5:45 AM on January 2, 2019. She felt gratitude and excitement, but it was tempered by the knowledge that there was a family experiencing a tremendous loss. Before she told her own family that her gift of life had arrived, Amanda cried and prayed for her donor and their grieving family.
Amanda calls her double lung transplant a miracle. She says, “It has not just changed my life, it has given me life. For the first time in my life, I take clear, deep breaths. I never knew breathing could feel like this.”
Amanda encourages us all: “Even in the darkest of pits, there is still hope. Organ donation is such an incredible, selfless way to love another person and give them hope.”