She traveled for procedures and treatments at some of the finest medical institutions in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania before being added to the transplant list at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in August 2015.
Christine vividly recalls the day she received a call for a transplant.
“On January 3, 2016, I was getting ready to go to church. I always joked that my car was like a ‘bomb on wheels’ because I had to carry my oxygen tanks along with me everywhere I went,” said Christine.
“My son Darrell received the voicemail. I remember turning to my daughter Gabrielle and saying, ‘Oh wow, this is really happening.’
I only waited for four hours, and I was wheeled in for the surgery. It was a very spiritual experience for me. I saw light, and I felt like I was being carried by angels. I knew in my heart that I was going to be OK - I was never so confident in my life.”
Christine’s life-saving double lung transplant was a success, but she had a difficult challenge ahead in her recovery.
“I anticipated staying in the hospital for a month, but I was home in nine days,” said Christine. “The physical recovery was grueling, but the mental and emotional challenges were even tougher.
I was not prepared for the range of feelings I had, including depression and survivor’s guilt. Now, I tell people waiting for a transplant to be sure to connect with others to ensure you have that emotional support every step of the way.”
Today, Christine is retired and doing all she can to give back to others by volunteering with NJ Sharing Network and the Garden State Pulmonary Fibrosis Group.
She also hopes that she will be able to personally connect with her donor family at some point in the future.
Currently, there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a life-saving transplant, according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
However, the generosity of those in the Garden State is providing hope for the future.
In 2022, the number of organ donors (283) and organs transplanted (670) in a single year reached all-time highs. This marked the fourth consecutive year that NJ Sharing Network has reported new records in the number of organ donors, underscoring the clear trend of increased support for organ donation.