Vern Jackson received a lung transplant in June of 2007. Two months after his transplant he was at the Minnesota State Fair, sharing his story. He and his wife, Kathleen Hallinan, continue to volunteer at the Fair each year, often taking several shifts at our booth to talk with fairgoers.
“It’s really fun interacting with people,” says Kathleen. “I love dispelling the myths. It’s incredible some of the goofy ideas people have about doantion. The greatest reward is having a conversation with someone and then seeing them register as a donor because they had all the information.”
Earlier this summer, Vern and Kathleen attended the US Transplant Games in Madison, Wisconsin. Held every other year in the United States, the Games are an Olympic-style competition for solid organ and bone marrow recipients and living donors. This was Vern and Kathleen’s first time attending the Games and they went for a very special reason – to meet the mother of Vern’s donor. “It was such a fitting atmosphere to get together,” shares Kathleen.
I encourage you to watch this video and read the accompanying story to learn more about Vern and his donor’s family. Cameras were there when he and his donor’s mom met for the first time, and it shows the emotional connection two families have when they are connected through donation and transplantation.