3,236 Days

What would you do with 3,236 days? 

Nick Jolly

That’s nearly nine years, and in Nick Jolly’s case it was the number of days he had to celebrate life after his lung transplant in 1996.

Nick’s wife Kathy continues his legacy.  Today she is working at our booth at the State Fair, along with her daughter Diane, her daughter’s boyfriend and his parents.  When asked why she continues to volunteer at the Fair – this is her 5th year – she replied, “It’s a chance to honor Nick and his donor, Brian.”  

Kathy also now works at LifeSource in our Communications Center, partnering with hospitals and providing the opportunity of tissue donation to families in our communities. 

Last November Kathy shared their story in her church’s bulletin.  I hope you find it to be as inspirational as I do.  It shows the transformational powers of transplantation and what the gift of 3,236 days can mean to a person, a family, and a community.  Enjoy!

In 1982 Nick sustained a work injury that caused damage to his lungs and over the course of many years this made it very difficult for him to work, to play with his children and maintain a home.   In Jan of 2005, Nick was accepted to the U of M Lung Transplant program for a double lung transplant. 

It’s very hard to watch a loved one not able to dress, walk around the house, or do everything we take for granted because it is difficult breathe.  When the kids and I would be outside taking care of the yard or shoveling snow, Nick would be watching and tears would roll down his face because he felt so insignificant as a husband and dad.  In 1996 Nick’s health declined and we didn’t know if he would see another day.

Nick was transplanted on July 11th thanks to his donor, Brian, who was just 18 years old.  We thank Brian and Brian’s family for sharing the gift of life with Nick and our family.  Nick was given nine more years with his family and friends.  He was able to see both of his children graduate from high school, see me obtain a degree in Medical Assisting and watch his niece and Goddaughter, Kalley. 

In 2005 Nick’s health declined and on May 20, 2005 Nick was started Hospice Care.  He was home on a sunny day.  We had a picnic with many family members who could spend time with him.  Four days later Nick ended his journey on earth and started his new journey in heaven.  I know the first one to greet him was his donor Brian.  Nick is now in heaven doing all of the things he could not do on earth – dancing, working, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow and watching over his family.