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Veteran gets double lung transplant in Jacksonville hours after doctors said he was going to die

by: Brittney Donovan, Action News Jax Updated:

An Air Force veteran got a double lung transplant at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville hours after doctors said he wouldn't make it.
Sandy Junn

An Air Force veteran got a double lung transplant at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville hours after doctors said he wasn't going to make it.

Veteran Terry Junn served in the Air Force for 23 years before retiring in Valdosta.

Terry and his wife Sandy Junn had been zip lining just a few months before Terry was diagnosed with terminal pulmonary fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Photos: Air Force veteran recovering after double lung transplant in Jacksonville


On Sept. 3, Junn woke up and couldn't catch his breath.

Sandy rushed him to the hospital and they learned Terry needed a double lung transplant.

Sandy got in touch with Mayo Clinic and brought him to Jacksonville.

He needed 100 percent oxygen and help doing almost everything.

His condition declined very fast and he was put on life support until a pair of lungs became available for him.

Sandy said doctors told her Terry had hours to live on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.

At 4 p.m., a pair of lungs became available in Mississippi. Mayo sent a helicopter and Terry went into surgery after 10 p.m.

Terry underwent a 12-hour surgery and was on life support for 11 days to help him recover.

After he was taken off life support, Terry began a long road to recovery. 

He walked for the first time a few days later and has been doing well, his wife said.

Terry spent a total of 37 days at the hospital.

He was well enough to leave the hospital and join Sandy at their hotel in Jacksonville on Dec. 9.

They will stay in Jacksonville through March for his recovery.

Sandy and Terry have a 13-year-old daughter and a home in Valdosta. They are both out of work during Terry's recovery and have many medical bills they will be responsible for.

The transplant cost $1 million and they're not yet sure what the out of pocket cost will be.

Anyone who would like to help their family with medical costs is asked to visit their GoFundMe.