Get your tickets now for the 2023 Festival of Trees!

Donate Life NC Program Assistant's Journey to a Heart Transplant

My name is Jessica Fournier. My story with organ donation began when I was 27 years old. I had been sick for about two years, after much testing it was determined that I need a life-saving heart transplant. I was very lucky and received my heart after waiting only six days. Due to a few complications post-transplant, it was then determined that I had a very rare muscle disorder called Mitochondrial. After several tests and a solid year of my medical teams working together, they came up with a combination of medicine and vitamins to make me feel like a normal, young adult again.  After my surgery, I did not feel up to working, though I did want to be able to give back in whatever way I could, because I knew this second chance could be taken at any moment.  I began volunteering for both the American Heart Association and Donate Life NC.  I was extremely passionate about these organizations and it meant so much to be able to spread awareness for their causes.  For the past two years I served as the Triangle spokeswomen for the American Heart Association and I am still very active in with their non-profit. In October of 2016, I was offered a position with Donate Life NC, a job that I was very excited and humbled to accept. It is hard to find a job in your life that you are passionate about and love. I was very lucky with my second chance to find just that.  

As with many donation stories, you want to make the connection with your donor family and often they desire to meet the recipient.  I wanted to find mine and was fortunate enough to, though word of mouth.  To this day, we are very close and it is a bond that is hard to find. Immediately I found a second family, in a blink of an eye I had a new sister. I quickly began to build a relationship with the donor’s immediate and extended family, one that I cherish.  We make every attempt to see each one another as much as possible, as my donor family lives just about an hour away, in Greensboro, NC.   I will reconnect with them at our next fundraising event, July 12 at Natty Greene’s Pub in Greensboro.  It’s a wonderful way to support that cause that means so much to myself and my donor family, we will reunite and enjoy a fun evening of raising awareness and fundraising.  Donate Life NC hopes you too will join us for this event!

I am excited to kick off our summer fundraising events in my hometown of Ashe County, with the Boondocks Brewery event on June 23, I will also be representing Donate Life NC at our Blowing Rock Brewing Company event on June 24.  We hope to see you there!