Sharon Thomas, Transplant Recipient

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It was 1986 and my life seemed perfect...

I had a loving husband and two beautiful daughters, ages two years and six months. I started having headaches and fatigue. After many tests, I got the news that I had Primary Pulmonary Hypertension which is the hardening of the small muscles and cells of your lungs. Most people at that time died within two years of diagnosis. I went through the only clinical trials they had at the time, and they only made it worse. My only hope was to receive a heart and double-lung transplant. At this time there had only been a little over a dozen heart and double lung transplants in the nation.

The next year or so was filled with many challenges. One of the worst was that my insurance decided that my treatment was considered “experimental.” All at once I was trying to take care of my children, my husband, my health, and fight for payment of the treatment I so desperately needed. My family and friends raised money and helped with childcare and meals. My extended family even moved in with us to help with the kids.

My health eventually deteriorated so much that I had to go to the University Medical Center in Tucson. On July 17, 1988, a 17-year-old young man experienced a tragic fall and his family made the decision to donate his organs. The transplant team went to the hospital in Vegas to retrieve the organs. My husband was in the waiting room when he saw a doctor come in with a cooler and he asked if those were going to be my organs…they were!

Seventeen days later, I was out of the hospital and walking around our apartment complex in Tucson. Within 30 days I was back home in Scottsdale, but still returning to Tucson for checkups. I would not be here today if I had not held strong to my faith, my family, my friends, and my doctors, all of whom got me through this experience.

I am telling this story to encourage anyone who needs a transplant to have courage for today and hope for tomorrow!
I am on my 24th year as a transplant recipient; however, 11 years ago it was necessary for me to receive a kidney transplant. I was on and off the kidney transplant list for over 6 years, being kept alive by dialysis. I have been on dialysis again for over 2 years, waiting for a living donor to come forward, or a deceased donation. For all those waiting, I wish you continued strength and stamina to live for today and hope for a healthier tomorrow. Take care of yourself! You are your best advocate. Thank you to all the generous donors and their families who give us the Gift of Life!

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  1. February 26th, 2022 | Sharon Thomas |

    331/2 years now with donated heart, lungs, and kidney.(2022) So very thankful for al that I have been able to experience with my family. We traveled across the country, watched our daughters grow into wonderful, successful women. We now have a son in law and 2 grandsons who are a true blessing to us. Thank you to the Montgomery family for our precious gift of life, and my daughter gave me one of her kidneys. I am blesses!!!

  2. September 15th, 2019 | Sharon Thomas |

    Yahoo! 31 years now! Transplants work!

  3. June 21st, 2016 | Sharon Thomas |

    Thank you all for your kind words and inquiries. Through the generous donation of a kidney by my daughter Amy, I received a much needed kidney transplant (my second) on March 4, 2014 at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Az. Since then our family had the opportunity to take a 10 day trip to Hawaii and Oahu. My husband and I also bought an RV and traveled for 3 weeks up the coast to see the sights and visit with Mike's sister in Sacramento. I have been more than blessed by organ donation, my family, friends, and especially my Lord who have allowed me to hang around for 28 years since my Heart Lung transplant. I do struggle with skin cancer and fatigue, but I am not complaining. Family Faith and Friends have been my life. We are retired (Mike from teaching), and enjoy life by visiting with our daughters, exercising, reading,ancestry searches, being boring, and being happy to be so well at our age.

  4. August 4th, 2013 | Anonymous |

    Sharon, So sorry about my earlier comment. I misread and thought you had received your kidney transplant. Our prayers are with you please let us know how we can help. God Bless you, Bob and Judy Weber

  5. August 4th, 2013 | Anonymous |

    Sharon it's been a long time. My wife and I were thinking about you today and wondered how you have been doing. Judy goggled you and found out about your kidney transplant. When you have a moment please email us so we can touch bases. My wife flew with you to the benefit in Jerry Foster's helicopter. Bob and Judy Weber from the Tempe YMCA.

  6. April 5th, 2013 | Kristine Bross |

    I am proud of my "sister" ! She has been such an inspiration to me and has taught me that attitude and the will to fight for your life is so important. If you haven't already, please become a donor. Sharon is here because of a generous gift from another family and I love her dearly.

    • April 20th, 2013 | Anonymous |

      Kristine ,I know you are proud of your sister.I lost my younger sister to ovarian cancer she lived 91/2 years with it .It went from her ovaries to her omentum then lungs and brain.I have been on the bone marrow list for years but would love to help your sister in honor of mine . Jacqueline Sue Witt that I LOVE AND MISS DEARLY. !!!!! Jeannie

  7. April 5th, 2013 | Paulette Eframson |

    Wow...Read this link through Terry Bross's FB Post. God Bless you and your family.


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