“Look at all of the things I am able to do because of a hero,” says Jessica Will, who enjoyed a week of adventures in Greece thanks to her life-saving heart transplant. One of the highlights was climbing her highest peak to date to the Temple of Athena in Lindos on the Greek island of Rhodes. From this ancient site, Jess could look down on a pristine blue heart-shaped harbor that reminds her of her extraordinary gift. The trip was extra special because it was a celebration of the 70th birthday of Jess’s mother, Denise Wurst, who is a kidney donor.
A donor hero named Dom gave Jess her second chance in 2019. Jess was diagnosed with cancer when she was just six. During treatment, a chemotherapy drug damaged her heart. Despite the progression of her heart disease, Jess was able to finish college, become a teacher, get married and adopt two sons.
But the disease eventually caused Jess to become so weak and ill that she was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and needed a month of treatment to get strong enough to be put on the transplant waitlist. On the night she found out that a healthy new heart was available, Jess began shaking and crying. “In someone’s worst time of their life, they still had the heart to realize that their loved one could help save others,” she said.
Jess honors her donor every day and uses the hashtag #ForDom in his memory when she posts photos of her experiences on Facebook. “Dom gave me the ability to live a new kind of life and I am forever grateful,” she said.
Register today to be an organ donor and your story goes on and on.