Professional trumpet player gets a second wind: Cream City 5K and the power of organ donation

Radio Milwaukee | Makenzie Botcher
"Now some of this is just a warm-up..." Jesse Pagels says, lowering his trumpet after playing a beautiful string of notes. 

He lets out a laugh, "I know when I listen to this finished piece I'm just going to be critiquing my trumpet playing." 

Listening to Jesse play, its clear that the professional trumpet player has really perfected the instrument. 

"I started playing the trumpet when I was in fifth grade... When I was little I like it because it was loud. I liked playing the loudest instrument." 

 But about thirteen years ago, after fighting leukemia, Jesse had to put down the trumpet after developing pulmonary fibrosis in his lungs and slowly loosing his lung function. "I had to stop playing the trumpet for those seven years. I just didn't have enough air." 

However, thanks to an organ donation, thirteen years later Jesse now has a new set of lungs and is back to playing the instrument he loves. "I would have died about two years ago if I didn't receive these lungs. I'll be forever grateful." 
And now, with the help of friends, family and generous sponsors, Jesse is giving back and rallying for the cause he believes in through the very first Cream City 5K: Milwaukee's first run/walk to support organ, tissue and eye donation. Continue reading
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