Ponca City man with cystic fibrosis receives second chance at life through lung transplant

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A young man with cystic fibrosis recently received a life-saving lung transplant, thanks to a LifeShare donation.

Wes Hawkins was 3 years old when his family learned of his cystic fibrosis diagnosis. His parents told him from a young age to not let his condition stop him from living his life.

Hawkins worked hard at making every day count. He moved to college and lived some of the best years of his life, thanks to new medicine which turned his life around. He was able to spend time in the beautiful outdoors tending to his yard, landscaping, reading on the patio, even running two 5Ks and spending time with friends and family.

He graduated college with a bachelors in Hotel and Restaurant Administration and began working up the ladder to become a restaurant manager.

In May 2019, Wes returned from a vacation with friends, but things took a turn for the worse his first night back home. He woke up in the middle of the night and was coughing up blood. Instead of going to work that weekend, he spent time in two emergency rooms, saw his cystic fibrosis specialist and underwent two procedures.

Two weeks into his hospital stay, the doctor mentioned the “T” word – transplant. Wes knew that he would eventually hear he needed one – but hoped to avoid it if he could. By the next afternoon, Wes began the transplant evaluation process.

On August 8th, Wes received a call that changed his life. To his surprise, it was the lung transplant team. They informed Wes that there was a potential match and he needed to get to the hospital as soon as he could. This was Wes’ fifth offer for lungs, all not panning out to be a transplant for him.

He yelled to his mom to come down the hall. She came running, thinking something was wrong. Wes exclaimed, “Mom, I got the call!” With confusion, she said, “what call?”, and Wes, with a ton of emphasis said, “The call!”. Within a few minutes, their bags were packed and they were headed to the hospital.

Once they arrived to the hospital, they began making sure he was healthy enough to receive a transplant. They did bloodwork, an x-ray, paperwork, and met the surgeon and anesthesiologist.

Wes received confirmation that evening the lungs were a perfect match, and at that point he was more ready than ever.

Thankfully, the surgery was a complete success

Now, Wes is almost one year post-transplant. One of his biggest triumphs would be returning to the gym and actually making progress. He was curious to see if he could run – and he learned that it was such a freeing experience after being held back for many years because of poor lung function. He has future plans of travel including visiting London and Ireland where his family originated.

“Who knows what else might peak my interest,” Wes said. “I was given this second chance at life – and now I get to live.”

LifeShare honors those who have received the gift of life, and remembers those who became donors.

You can give the gift of life by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at www.LifeShareRegistry.org.

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