Double Lung Transplant Recipient

Maria (Terri) Pilawa

Maria Terri Pilawa bio image
August 2009, Terri married her best friend to begin a future with the one she loved. She was starting to struggle with shortness of breath, and it was scary. This is where her long journey of love, life, and loss began.

A By 2010 her shortness of breath was so bad, she required oxygen 24/7. She was diagnosed with NSIP Pulmonary Fibrosis. Medications helped slow down the process and control the coughing spasms.

June 2012, Terri’s condition took a turn for the worse, she was hospitalized with a lung infection. The medications were no longer effective against coughing spasms and more oxygen was required. She frequently felt as though she was suffocating. Terri was sent to USC Keck Medical where she was put on a list for a double lung transplant.

Terri waited for 9 long months when she received the call that her wait was over. June 24th 2015 a week after her birthday she was given a second chance of life. She was full of life and joy, saddened by the loss of her donor and very grateful for the families’ decision to save her life with new lungs.

Because of Terri’s donor she is able to take a deep breath without coughing. She honors her donor with every step she takes. With her new lungs she is able to travel with her husband, spend time with loved ones and try to recover the many years of illness, oxygen, and hospital beds.

Terri is so blessed and takes nothing for granted. She spends her time speaking at functions and educating communities on organ, eye and tissue donation. It has become her passion. She is proud to be a One Legacy Donate Life Ambassador, and Secretary for James Worley & Collin Conedy Foundation.

“Please share my story. I’m so blessed beyond all the stars in the sky for my second chance of life. I love my donor and her family for the wonderful life they have given me. I promise to pay it forward and take care of my beautiful new lungs forever.” ─Maria Terri Pilawa