Meet LifeLink of Georgia ORGANizer, Nancy Jasso.
Nancy joined our volunteer program in March of 2021 after she received a lifesaving liver transplant in 2019. Nancy’s journey to transplant started at a very young age, when she began binge drinking, which eventually led to drinking all day, every day. Meanwhile, she was able to keep a job, take care of her family and do everything she needed to do, or so it appeared. Most people didn't even know she had a drinking problem, but Nancy’s body began showing signs of liver disease. She was afraid and avoided going to the doctor for as long as possible. When she was diagnosed with liver disease and advised to change her lifestyle, Nancy understood but felt incapable of giving up alcohol.
A year later, Nancy received another wakeup call when she ended up in the emergency room and spent a week in the hospital detoxing from alcohol. Upon discharge from the hospital and officially diagnosed with cirrhosis, Nancy was referred to Piedmont Hospital to be evaluated for a liver transplant. This time she committed to make real changes, and when sober, began the liver transplant evaluation process. Nancy gained renewed hope and determination to do everything she could do to stay alive. Transplant or not, she knew her family needed her.
Nancy started on her transplant checklist right away and began scheduling the necessary appointments, which included six months of substance abuse counseling. She completed the checklist requirements and was approved for transplant, however during the wait she became more sick – she slept 18-20 hours a day, required continuous oxygen to breathe and experienced other complications. Nancy’s family worried that she wouldn’t survive.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, a deputy from the sheriff's office rang Nancy’s doorbell with an important message. Nancy’s transplant coordinator had been trying to reach her, but because her granddaughter had been playing on Nancy’s phone while she slept, the call wasn’t received. Thanks to the deputy, Nancy was able to connect with her transplant coordinator and could not believe she had received “the call”.
During a six-hour surgery, Nancy received her new liver. After a long recovery, her new life began without 18-20 hours of sleep or continuous oxygen. Nancy is now two years post-transplant and feels more alive than ever before.
As Nancy says, “I'm now two years post-transplant, almost seven years alcohol free, and every day is a special day because it's always a great day to be alive. Post-transplant life has challenges. It requires a lot of commitment and responsibility and it’s very worth it. I'm very thankful that it's gone well for me and that I've gotten this extra time. I'm excited about life, each day. Waking up to face the world each morning is a gift. I'm looking forward to all the adventures that wait for me in my future, big or small.”
Nancy now spends her time enjoying life and family while also volunteering for LifeLink to share her story. Nancy hopes that being open about her journey inspires someone to consider registering to be a donor, and we appreciate her contributions.
In Nancy’s words, “If there was one thing I could say to say to my donor... I grieve for you not knowing you, but I know that you chose to save someone's life. Mine. You are now a part of me and because of your very generous gift, my heart beats with joy and gratitude. Thank you for giving me the biggest gift ever. Thank you for giving me life.“