Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at six weeks of age, Valerie Vandervort was listed for transplant in 1999. She waited almost two years for a double lung transplant, receiving her gift of life from 15-year-old Colbey Oglesby just in time for her 30th birthday. Since her transplant, Valerie can breathe without oxygen, talk in complete sentences, sing, take showers and clean house. She has participated in the U.S. Transplant Games five times and won six medals. In 2010, Colbey's parents cheered for Valerie at the Games. "I thank God for all my blessings, and my donor, and her family," said Valerie. "I know I am truly blessed."
Valerie Vandervort Boyer was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of six weeks. Except for being admitted to the hospital once or twice a year for "tune ups," Victoria said she led a pretty normal life. "I went to public school, took dancing and tumbling, played softball one summer, and was a cheerleader."
Her lung function had declined by her late 20s, and Valerie was listed for a transplant in October 1999. She waited almost two years for a double lung transplant, receiving her gift of life from 15-year-old Colbey Oglesby just in time for her 30th birthday In addition to Valerie, Colbey saved seven others as an organ donor.
Since her transplant, Valerie can breathe without oxygen, talk in long sentences, sing, eat until she's full, take showers instead of baths, go shopping, clean house and do laundry. "The energy I have has allowed me to change much of my life," affirmed Valerie. "Feeling good and not being tired all the time allows me to put these 'gift of life lungs' to good use. I swim, climb stairs, jump on my trampoline, run, lift weights, and most of all I can dance again."
Valerie has also experienced much joy since her transplant. She was able to watch both of her sisters graduate, was maid of honor in her sister's wedding, and has watched her husband Rick advance in his umpiring career. Valerie has traveled to places and checked off some activities on her "bucket list" as well. "I have hiked a mountain and seen beautiful waterfalls. Most recently I took a surfing lesson and surfed in Florida. I have participated in the US Transplant Games five times and have won six medals." In 2010, Colbey's parents cheered for Valerie at the Games. She has run in several 5K races, done an indoor triathlon and a climbed stairs for a cystic fibrosis fundraiser.
Valerie also takes the time to give back to her community. She is a mentor to CF patients who will be in need of a transplant and she attends health fairs and speaks on organ donation. "Life post-transplant has a new meaning," said Valerie. "I take each day as it comes, and I take time to stop and smell the roses along the way. I know God has so much more for my life than I will ever realize."
On the tenth anniversary of her transplant, Valerie had Colbey's name tattooed on her bicep to honor her. "I thank God for all my blessings, and my donor, and her family," said Valerie. "I know I am truly blessed."