WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A Bradbury family is celebrating Monday afternoon after their beloved 22-year-old son got a life-saving double lung transplant over the weekend.
Jake Bigley, who graduated from Gonzaga University last month, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant. Although he’s always been active and recovered from sickness, he recently took a turn for the worse.
On Friday, he needed a lung transplant within the week.
“Two days would have made a huge difference, and he wouldn’t have been able to be here,” said Jake’s mother, Elaine Bigley.
Jake’s father, Thomas, said, “We were now on day 5 and he needed a transplant right away.”
The family got word early Sunday morning that a set of lungs from an anonymous minor had been deemed viable.
Jake went into surgery within hours.
“Finally, those phone calls would come every two hours saying: ‘The left lung is in.’ The right lung is in.’ ‘We’re closing him up.’ ‘You can see your baby.’ It was just tear-wrenching,” said Elaine.
The Bigley family said their hearts go out to the donor family, but hope other families and adults decide to become donors by registering online.
“Despite all the advances we have made in the field of transplantation and medicine, in general, to be able to save a patient’s life with transplantation, we are dependent on the generosity of the public,” said Dr. Abbas Ardehali, the transplant program director at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
The Bigleys said they’re allowed to contact the donor family in three months to write a letter of gratitude.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to hold (Jake), and love him and know he’s going to be okay,” said Elaine.