(ABC 6 News)— A gift of a lifetime was given Friday, but it wasn’t the first a Byron woman has received lately.
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Breathing is something many of us take for granted, but in October Jennifer Jones was able to take her first unassisted breath after receiving new lungs.
“I felt like I was flying. I thought I was just up there and couldn’t take a deep enough breath and it was incredible,” said Jennifer Jones.
When Jennifer was young she was misdiagnosed with allergies or asthma, when really she had cystic fibrosis. She wasn’t diagnosed until she had her son at nearly 30-years-old. Complications soon began to follow.
“Last year in October she went in and it was getting so bad they put her on oxygen full time,” said Jennifer’s Fiancé, Rob Ronnenberg.
Jennifer was put on a transplant list for new lungs in June, which is when things really got bad. In mid-October Jennifer’s lung function was a little over 10%. But good news was headed their way.
“The nurse comes in the room and says hey you’re going to get a phone call and then the phone rang and we’re like okay, that’s never happened so what’s going on? Well, all of a sudden she goes are you for real, are you serious? Is this really happening? And that was it that was the call,” Rob said.
Jennifer received a double lung transplant the same month. During surgery, her father and fiancé hatched a plan to make her dream of owning a photography studio come true.
So her dad, Bob Strickland, who is also a photographer in Texas, decided to donate most of his equipment. They’ve been planning this now for two months. Bob arrived with the equipment Friday.
“I had a focus, I had a reason to be here and sleep or no sleep, I was going to be here,” said Bob.
After unpacking and setting up the studio, Jennifer walked in and was surprised by seeing the studio set up and then seeing her dad.
“I love you so much. This is the best present ever,” said Jennifer as she was hugging her dad.
On top of the surprise of the new studio and her father being there, “This will be the second Christmas I’ve been able to spend with her since she was five-years-old. So for those reasons, to be able to celebrate this gift of life during this special holiday season, Christmas season is just, it’s overwhelming,” said Bob.
And a gift of being able to breathe, Jennifer and her family will forever cherish.