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What's Your Story in Port Barre: A second chance at life - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

What's Your Story in Port Barre: A second chance at life

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Judy William / KATC Judy William / KATC

This time on What's Your Story, the dart sent us on our way to Port Barre in St. Landry Parish.

"I wasn't going to do this but I made a promise to myself and I wasn't keeping it so I'm going to do this," says resident Judy Williams.

After initially turning us down for an interview, Williams had a change of heart.

"I made a promise to myself that if I ever had an opportunity to push being a donor I would," Williams explains. 

When we met Judy, she was lucky to be standing there. In fact, she was lucky to be alive at all.  

"I was diagnosed with a very rare disease called primary scoloros larangitus and there is no cure and there is really no treatment for it," Williams says. Judy's body had started to reject her liver. "It took about 15 years for my liver to die and be put on the transplant list" 

There were thirty people ahead of her on that list, but complications sent her to the sixth spot, before being selected as a reserve candidate.

"At five o'clock the next morning I got a call saying I was going to be primary but I had to leave my house in 5 minutes because I was too hours away," Judy says.

After a race to the hospital, Judy made it just in time for the procedure and given a second chance at life.

"My lungs had been collapsing twice a week so I was in the hospital twice a week for about three months so I was ready," Williams remembers of the hospital visits.

At the time of the transplant, she had been bedridden for three months but even after, she gained a new sense of freedom. 

"I've just got this great life now, I have no restrictions. I'm about to travel to Europe in a few months and I'm excited about that," Williams beams. 

Her worry and her gratitude remains with the donor and their family. The family responsible for giving her her life back.

"Someone had to donate a liver and that meant that a family was going to lose a family member and not because of me but it's still a struggle to all of us who receive an organ," Williams says.

While she's never met the family, she has sent a letter. Her message to them:

"To think about others and think about others and to think beyond their grief to do for someone else, because of that donor I'm alive today."

And her message to everyone else is simple. "One organ donor can save 8 lives, and that's monumental"

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