JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Every step Shirley Thompson makes is truly a miracle. "There has got to be a purpose because I truly should not be here," she said.
Thompson walked into her hospital room in Mayo for a surgery, but doctors had to put her in a medically induced coma for four weeks after her lungs collapsed.
The only way she could survive was by getting new lungs. "I remember telling her husband it will literally take a miracle for this to happen," said Dr. Casar Keller.
Four days after she was put on the transplant list, a patient three rooms away died. Thompson received their lungs.
"Bless their family and what they went through and knowing that we were that close," said Thompson. "They probably intermingled in the hallway and waiting rooms and didn't even know it."
"In our transplant program the average wait time is seven months," said Dr. Keller.
Dr. Casar Keller cared for the wife and mother of two as she was in intensive care. "It is like magic, but it can only work if there is a donor available," said Dr. Keller.
Thompson now shares her story everywhere. She is encouraging others to become organ donors. "Thank God for that donor or I would not be talking to you today," she said.
It's a life-giving gift she hopes to pay forward with every breath she takes.