Sunday, May 03, 2009

New lungs from donor gave Wyoming man a future

"I never knew air could taste so good," said Robert Georges.

By Baylie Evans

CHEYENNE -- The Cheyenne Day of Giving is a chance to give more than food and clothing.

It's a chance to give life.

Registering as an organ or bone marrow donor can give someone a future, a chance to watch their children graduate or to enjoy the birth of their grandchildren.

For 42 years, Robert Georges couldn't plan his future. He never knew how much -- or little -- he had.

The long-time Cheyenne resident was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes illness and death without a lung transplant.

It is rare for someone with the diagnosis to live as long as Robert did.

About 12 years ago doctors decided he was a good candidate for a double lung transplant. He had spent his life in and out of doctors' offices and hospitals. In the six months he waited for lungs, he was in the hospital nine times.

"I was on death's door," he said. "It was a very, very miserable way to die."

His future was counted in days.

But after an 81/2-hour surgery, Robert suddenly had a future again.

His new lungs made him healthier than he ever had been.

"I never knew air could taste so good," he said.

His wife, Jennifer, was able to plan: vacations and big purchases and for their family business.

"You have a future with that person (again)," she said of the years since the transplant.

Robert's new lungs meant he could watch his two children graduate, get married and have kids of their own. Now he's watching his grandchildren grow up.

He was even a competitor in the transplant Olympic Games.

He won fifth place -- out of thousands of runners -- in the 400-meter dash. It was a feat he never thought he would accomplish.

Robert's lungs came from a donor who saved about six other lives after dying of a brain aneurism.

"That's just an unselfish gift," he said.

Robert hopes that sharing his story will encourage residents to become organ donors.

At the Cheyenne Day of Giving on May 8, individuals can do just that. All it takes is a few minutes and some paperwork.

But it's also important to tell your family about your decision to become an organ donor.

Because even if you sign up, family members can stop the process if they want to.

If you go

The Cheyenne Day of Giving will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday at the Community House in Lions Park.

It will provide a chance to donate blood, food, personal care items and leftover prescription medication to local charities. Also, individuals can register as organ and tissue or bone marrow donors.

Call Greta Morrow at 307-635-3943 for more information.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

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