2017 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Debbie Bohman
By the time Debbie Bohman of Spencer, Wis., was in her 40s, her family already had experienced two tragedies: Her older brother drowned as a child, and her younger brother died at age 34 due to complications from cystic fibrosis (CF).
Debbie also suffered from CF, a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections, but she managed to be relatively healthy for many years.
By 2011, however, she required oxygen at night and could not even retrieve her mail without being short of breath. She was put on the waitlist for a new set of lungs in March, and on May 9, she received the call that the organs had become available. She was in the hospital for nine days after her transplant.
"The first time I walked, I was amazed that I could take a deep breath," she says. "After I got all the chest tubes out, I felt like a new woman."
When Debbie heard from Scott and Krista Adams, parents of her donor, Cory, she was ecstatic. They quickly arranged a meeting at a park between their two cities.
"It was very emotional," says Debbie. "It was just like we were best friends the minute I saw them." The two families began getting together frequently and introducing each other to their extended families and friends. "When they brought their friends and family for dinner, my husband and I just felt like we belonged there," says Debbie.
The Adamses came to Debbie's house to celebrate her 50th birthday and one-year transplant anniversary. In 2015, they participated in a 50-mile bicycle ride for CF in honor of Debbie and her brother. Scott has even told Debbie that if he had known her when she was receiving his son's lungs, he would have been at her bedside. "They are the most wonderful people," says Debbie.