Today’s guest blog comes from a very special contributor. Amanda Wright is the sister of Patrick Owen Murphy, a young man who became an organ donor after passing away at the age of 16 this past June. While out in Federal Hill over the Thanksgiving holiday, Amanda had a chance meeting with another young woman connected to donation – Tiffanie Reilly. Thank you to Amanda and Tiffanie for sharing their stories with us!
Where: Mother’s Federal Hill Grille
When: Sunday 11/25/2018
How: While hanging out at Mother’s, Tiffanie came up to me and asked me about my bracelet… I wear the green “Donate Life” bracelet that I got from the Donor Memorial Ceremony event at Johns Hopkins Hospital a few weeks ago. We got to talking and I learned her story and told her about mine. We gave each other a few huge hugs and are so grateful to each other for sharing our stories and have created a new friendship! 🙂 We both feel so incredibly blessed to have had our paths cross.
Tiffanie Reilly’s story:
Tiffanie was born with a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis which affects the lungs and digestive system. After being in and out of the hospital her whole life for “tune ups,” which require sometimes weeks-long stays of IV antibiotics and aggressive therapy, at the age of 23, she was an end stage CF patient. Her body was no longer as sensitive to all the medications and her lung function was dwindling to where she needed a double lung transplant to survive.
She got put on the transplant waiting list at Johns Hopkins in February 2015 and got the call for two beautiful new lungs on June 10, 2015. In her whole life, she never knew what it felt like to take a deep breath in or what it felt like to actually breathe easy, but once she received her new lungs, all of that changed.
She’s now the healthiest she’s ever been in her entire life. Tiffanie is so grateful for her second chance at life and for her beautiful donor. She wishes to one day be able to meet their family and thank them in person. Tiffanie volunteers as a Donate Life Ambassador with The LLF and just celebrated her 3-year transplant anniversary this past June.
On June 26, 2018, my little brother, Patrick Owen Murphy, passed away suddenly and tragically from an AVM* (arteriovenous malformation). My brother was a healthy and kind 16-year-old boy. Just weeks prior to his death, he had earned his driver’s license and chosen to become an organ donor. My brother was able to give second chances at life to five different people. At this time my family and I aren’t ready to meet the recipients and their families, but hope that they will continue to live their lives for Patrick, too.
I’m so incredibly proud of my brother for being a hero and am grateful that over these past five months I have been able to meet people like Tiffanie. She’s not only kind, but she recognizes both sides of the donation process, is vocal about her experience, compassionate, and is a proud advocate for The LLF.
The LLF is an amazing organization and I’m so glad they have provided me and my family with an incredible community of people. Life without Patrick isn’t nearly as full, but I can’t stress enough how amazing it is that The LLF and its extended community help us keep Patrick’s legacy of life alive and heard.
*An AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. These arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. Veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart and a AVM disrupts this process. AVM’s effect less than 1% of the population and most people are born with them.