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Jillian- Recipient’s Daughter

For me and my family, my Dad’s gifted lungs meant more time with him. His transplant saved his life and has changed me for the better in many ways.

My dad Robert Waitkus received a double lung transplant at the UK Chandler Hospital on June 1st, 2020. He had struggled for years to breathe and live a normal life without supplemental oxygen. It took years for him to make the decision to move forward and put his name on a transplant waiting list. I thank the staff members at UK Healthcare and Baptist Health for their support and encouragement of my dad in this life-changing decision.

When our father was admitted to UK Chandler Hospital to await his transplant on May 22nd, 2020, the doctors and staff were taking his time left on this Earth one day at a time. I don’t think I realized how sick my father was until during his recovery and watching him bounce back. Seeing my dad breathe again without oxygen was the greatest miracle I have ever witnessed.

His recovery was far from perfect. I can remember being so worried about what was going to happen on the operating table that I wish I would’ve asked more questions about what was to come after. He had many complications from illness to rejection to atrophy from his four-month stay in the hospital. However, he was truly humbled and grateful that he was given another opportunity at life. He often spoke about how appreciative he was of his donor and their family for their role in his second chance.

My father passed away at home on November 18, 2020. While we are heartbroken that he is no longer with us, we are overjoyed with the extra five months that his new lungs allowed us to spend with him.

To Dr. Baz, Dr. Keshavmurthy, and the UK Transplant team: Thank you for all of your hard work, support, care, and love that you provided during our dad’s recovery. You truly became family to us and we are so thankful that you were a part of this journey with us.

To the donor and family of my dad’s lungs: Thank you for giving my dad and our family the best gift we could have ever been given: the gift of life. Without you, we would’ve missed out on many laughs and more time spent together. The joy and glory of God that you have brought to our lives is a debt that we will never be able to repay.