When Jennifer Jones was younger, she often had trouble breathing and had a cough that wouldn’t go away. Doctors diagnosed her with allergies and asthma, but the problem just seemed to get worse.
It wasn’t until the birth of her son when she was almost 30 years old that she was finally correctly diagnosed. She had cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a progressive genetic disease that causes a buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria, leading to persistent lung infections, extensive lung damage, and, eventually, respiratory failure.
Last June, Jennifer was put on a transplant list for new lungs. By October, her CF had gotten so bad that her lung function was barely over 10 percent and she had to be on oxygen full-time.
Things weren’t looking good, but then, just before Christmas, she finally got the news she had been waiting for.
“The nurse comes in the room and says, ‘Hey, you’re going to get a phone call,'” Jennifer’s fiance, Rob Ronnenberg, recalled, “and then the phone rang and we’re like, ‘Okay, that’s never happened, so what’s going on?’ Well, all of a sudden she goes, ‘Are you for real, are you serious? Is this really happening?’ And that was it. That was the call.”
Jennifer was finally getting her new lungs!
Rob shared a video of Jennifer waking up and taking her first breaths on her own after the transplant, and her reaction says it all. As Rob wrote in the caption of the video, “Her face is simply magical!”
“I felt like I was flying,” Jennifer recalled as she thought back to that incredible moment. “I thought I was just up there and couldn’t take a deep enough breath and it was incredible.”
Many people who have seen the video have written in to share how it has changed their perspective on life.
“Her reaction makes me think of all the simple things in life we take for granted,” wrote one Reddit user. “Something as simple as breathing becomes a life-altering event if your lungs don’t work as they are supposed to.”
“I wish we all felt this way when we wake up in the morning,” said another. “Life is precious and fleeting.”
Rob hopes people will share this beautiful video to spread awareness of the importance of organ donation. While it may not be pleasant to think about what will happen to your organs after you die, becoming an organ donor could help save countless lives.
“There are people whose lives literally depend on the generous gift of sharing your organs after you no longer have a need for them,” Rob said. “Be a real-life hero and let your family know that you will be a donor.”
Were you touched by Jennifer’s beautiful reaction to receiving her new lungs? Help us spread the word about the importance of organ donation! Share this!