Hanover student and teacher who beat long odds raise awareness for organ donation

WRIC | Will Armbruster
Heather James had a double lung transplant and a liver transplant in December 2014.
HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Back in May, 8News introduced you to a Hanover County student and her teacher who helped one another beat long odds. Now, they’re helping to raise awareness for a cause they say is “very difficult,” but even more rewarding.

In 2013, Hanover High School junior Heather James, who was born with Cystic Fibrosis, was fighting for life, in need of a double lung and liver transplant. Her spanish teacher, Catherine Smith, who has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome could relate; she had had underwent 10 surgeries in eight years.

“We both struggle with chronic health conditions, so we just sorta clicked,” Smith told 8News back in May.

In December of 2014, James had a double lung and liver transplant and kept in touch with Smith throughout the process. A few months later, the two started training for a 5K together before accomplishing the feat – again, together – at the UNOS 5K in May.

“It was just an amazing moment, definitely a moment I’ll never forget,” James recalled. Continue reading

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