McDaris, 64, was put on the transplant waiting list. In February, she was hospitalized at
At any given moment, more than 120,000 Americans are waiting on a life-saving organ. On average, 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant, according to the
McDaris has health coverage through Staywell Heath Plan, a
"She [Sandra] listened to me ̶ you don't get many insurances that do that," McDaris said. "She doesn't know how much it helps."
In March, McDaris was still in the hospital and continued to require high-flow oxygen and nebulization to breathe, but she had improved enough to be re-listed for transplant. A donor was found and she was scheduled for surgery.
The morning of her transplant, however, her lungs stopped working, and she was placed on a breathing machine. For several days, no one knew if she would survive. Despite the odds, she pulled through again.
In recognition of Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, McDaris is sharing her story to encourage others struggling with lung disease or waiting on a transplant to stay positive.
"It's a miracle; it really is," said McDaris, who is recovering near Shands, where doctors can monitor her closely, and she can do physical therapy to get her strength back.
She couldn't walk before. Now she can ride a stationary bike for an hour. She is enjoying long walks, shopping, cooking and "just doing for myself," she said.
"I'm still amazed at how brilliant the doctors are and my insurance, the hospital, the hotel, my son, all the people I have come into contact with. I pray daily for you guys, because without you guys, I would not be here today. That's the only way to say it."
"Helping people like Patricia is why I love coming to work every day," said Sharby, one of the many people at WellCare involved in McDaris' care. "It's so gratifying to get to the happy ending."
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