Family's Tragedy Turns into Life Saving Choice

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Each breath Heather Beadle takes is on borrowed time.  On New Year's Eve in 2003, another family's tragedy turned into a choice she says saved her life.

"How do you thank someone for life," Beadle said. "My donor was an 18 year-old high school senior who died in a car accident he evidently told his family he wanted to be a donor."

Doctors preformed a double lung transplant when Beadle was just 26 years old. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was just four-years-old. some years later she learned she had diabetes, a complication of her disease. Doctors didn't think she would live past 13.

"When I woke up from the transplant my first breaths were such big breaths that I started hyper-ventilating." Beadle said the experience is difficult to describe, "Every breath is a gift."

The Website donatelifetexas.org takes the guess work out of the difficult decision. Donors must register at the site and then if there is an accident their family members will not be burdened with the choice. Doctors check the site first if an accident happens. If a person in Texas is not listed, they must then ask the family for permission.

"It's so simple, they send you something in the mail and send it back," Beadle said. "And no one can say you can't be a donor. You are a donor."

Beadle says she wrote a letter to her donor's family and is forever grateful.

"I was in my sisters wedding that year," Beadle said she also was able to meet her nieces and nephews and spend time with her husband. "It's, it's awesome. I think you just need to live every day for what it is; A gift from God."