LifeGift - Story (Tina Rueles)On Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Story - Tina Rueles (Organ Recipient)
Organ Donations have affected thousands of people around the world. Check out this inspiring story!
Tina Rueles is an optician and adventurous spirit from Euless, Texas. She plays darts in a local league and loves finding eyewear that helps people look and see their best. Tina spent 20 years crafting custom eyeglasses, but without a mask or proper ventilation, work took a toll on her lungs.
In 2010, Tina went to the emergency room with a lung infection the doctors thought, at first, would be simple to treat with antibiotics. But Tina soon learned that she would need a lot more than antibiotics. She needed a new set of lungs. If she didn’t get them, she only had about two years to live.
Tina was put on the waiting list in May 2012. For 10 months, it was hit and miss. Tina had to be removed from the list twice due to infections. By the third time she was placed on the waiting list, it seemed hopeless.
Then, on Feb. 27, 2013, Tina found hope. Donor lungs were discovered that matched her – and she was healthy enough for the surgery.
Now 49, Tina is healthy again; her friends call her “Wonderlung.” She’s spending time with her nieces and playing golf for the first time in six years. She also fulfilled a promise to her mother – to go zip lining together.
Tina volunteers at every opportunity for organizations that promote organ donation, including LifeGift, Southwest Transplant Alliance and Taylor’s Gift. She’s the reason darts is now an event in the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, where she won two silver medals and a gold in 2014, and is a competitor in the 2015 World Transplant Games in Argentina.
Ultimately, this optician now has one focus in life: Not to waste a single breath.
What does hope mean to you?
A second chance to do the things I need to do.
If you could tell your donor family one thing, what would it be?
Thank you, I love you with all my lungs. (Lungs are bigger than hearts!)
What’s your life motto?
Live each day to the fullest, make every breath count!