Blake Bargatze

Transplant Recipient - Organ

I was 24 years old when I contracted COVID-19. I became critically ill 2 weeks before I could receive my first vaccination. On April 10th, 2020 I was admitted to a South Florida ICU and 4 days later was placed in a medically induced coma. A month later I woke up in an Atlanta hospital being told I needed a double lung transplant in order to survive. My heart had stopped several times and I was clinging on to dear life.

Shortly after agreeing to be transferred to Maryland for my procedure, I was told it could take six months or longer to receive my new lungs due to my rare blood type. Miraculously, a match was found just a few days after being listed and I underwent the surgery. It took me several months to learn how to walk again and just get back to a somewhat normal lifestyle. As I write this today, I am seeking out the donors family just to tell them how grateful I am to them and how indebted I feel. I'm using every breath I have from this day forward to advocate organ donation and praise the good Lord for my second chance at life. If you're ever feeling down, just remember: Just Breathe - You're here for a reason.