I really appreciate Kim Jacques for a sharing her story with us. She has been given transplant and she continually gives back- what a great example to us all. Thanks Kim and here is her story....
My name is Kimberly Jacques and I received a life-saving heart & double lung transplant 15 years
ago. To tell you how I got to this point I have to start at the beginning. I was born on January 3,
1980, as a preemie with a multitude of health problems. While it was obvious that my lungs were very
underdeveloped it didn’t even occur to my doctors that there might be something wrong with my heart.
When I was two and a half, my doctors thought I'd be doing better since I was still on oxygen. A cardiac
catheterization revealed that I had inoperable holes in my heart. I was diagnosed with Eisenmenger's
Syndrome. Once I was diagnosed my doctors "tip-toed" around what type of surgery I may need. It
was discovered that I would eventually need a heart & double lung transplant.
At the age of five my parents decided to move the four of us (I now had a sister) from Boston,
Massachusetts to Tampa, Florida to see if the warmer climate might help me. It worked. I ended up
having a normal childhood.
I was able to grow up in a great neighborhood with many kids my age. I was an average/above
average student in school. I was active in Girl Scouts and in my church. I learned how to beat Super
Mario Bros. on my Nintendo, watched too many 80s and early 90s sitcoms (and Saturday morning
cartoons), and got into my fair share of mischief.
In June of 1994, I went to my cardiologist for my yearly check-up. It was the first day of summer
vacation and I was antsy to go, get the check up over with, and go on with my summer. Fate had other
After several visits to St. Louis, Missouri throughout 1994 and 1995, it was decided that my family and
I would need to move there to wait for my transplant. We moved to St. Louis in the spring of 1996 and
during the late evening hours of June 13th, I received the call I’d been waiting for. Organs had become
available! Early the next morning, I received my transplant and (thankfully) it was a “match made in
Since then, I’ve been able accomplish so many things. I graduated from high school and received an
Associates degree in Science. I have had the pleasure of watching my sisters grow up and graduate
high school and college. I’ve been able to welcome numerous cousins into the family; instead of them
hearing of me in the past tense, I get to spend time with them. In fact, the two oldest (Harry, 14 and
Madeline, 13 in September) know about journey and are grateful that they’ve had the chance to grow
up with “Cousin Kim.”
Ever since 2002, I have been an active participate at the U.S. Transplant Games proudly representing
Team Florida. At the 2006 games, I won a bronze medal in the 1500m race walk and at the 2008
games; I won a silver medal in the same event.
In 2010, I competed in Madison, Wisconsin surrounded by many other recipients along with donor
families and living donors. Though I didn’t win a medal, I enjoyed being around my “transplant family;”
others who ‘get it’ and understand the responsibility I carry each day trying to keep a part of my donor
alive. Sadly, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recently suspended the 2012 games. While this
news has greatly saddened my friends and me, it has also strengthened our bond with one another.
I created a Team Florida group on Facebook in anticipation for the 2010 games and I hope to bring it
back up again within the next year or two. I’m a member of various transplant networking websites. I
am able to offer advice to those on the waiting list and give them insight on what lies ahead in the post
I am so grateful that my anonymous donor family said YES in their moment of tragedy. They’ve given
me more than just “years”; they’ve given me memories and moments that I’m forever grateful to have gotten
the chance to experience.
the chance to experience.