Gift of life still giving 17 years later

PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES Marilyn Bower, who received a double lung transplant in 2000, sits with her husband, Jack, at their Big Cedar Estates home.
Jack Bower calls his wife, Marilyn, his bionic woman.

Since the start of the 2000s, she's shattered both of her ankles, battled breast cancer, had a mastectomy and suffered a brain aneurism. But the 72-year-old from Big Cedar Estates keeps going.

"I've got so much metal in my body," she joked Thursday, while sitting in her living room across from her husband.

She also suffered from emphysema and lung cancer, following almost a lifetime of smoking. Diagnosed in the mid-1990s, she was on a waiting list for a double lung transplant for 16 months before finally getting the call - for the third time - that a donor had been found.

On April 29, 2000 she was given a new lease on life. Seventeen years later, as Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month wrapped up for another year, she hasn't looked back.

She first discovered something was wrong when she was 50. She was told then that if she didn't quit smoking, she'd be dead within six months to a year. Continue reading

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