Eleven years ago, Jennifer Jones was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a progressive, genetic disease that causes a thick, sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, leading to persistent lung infections and making it harder to breathe over time.

Since then, Jones’ lung function has decreased dramatically, dipping down to just 10.8 percent back in October. Fortunately, she was a candidate for transplant, and by that time, she’d found a match. Jones underwent surgery that month at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and watching her taking her very first breath with her new lungs is an incredible sight to see.

“At first I was scared,” the 40-year-old said. She adds that she’s never been able to breathe normally before.

“And then it was like, ‘oh, my goodness, I can breathe! I can still breathe and I’m still taking in all this air,’ and it was overwhelming. It was incredible.”

Now Jones is living with 93 percent lung function, and it’s all thanks to the person who chose to become a donor. Listen to her message to the donor family below.


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