By creator to www.crossville-chronicle.com
Virgil Thompson stood earlier than the congregation at Liberty Baptist Church in Might 2019 and instructed them, in three or 4 months, he could be operating — both within the yard together with his sons or in heaven together with his grandfather.
Thompson, 39, was leaving the subsequent day for Durham, NC. He and spouse, Jennifer, could be spending the subsequent a number of months there as they ready for Virgil to have a double-lung transplant.
“What a blessing this has been,” stated Jennifer final week. “I am grateful.”
Jennifer had been scheduled to talk on the April Donate Life month observance, however considerations over group gatherings led to that occasion’s cancellation.
Rising up with Cystic Fibrosis
Thompson was recognized with cystic fibrosis when he was 2. The illness impacts the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices, making them thicker. Thompson described the impact to the congregation as much like stopped-up pipes, inflicting injury to lungs, the liver, pancreas and different organs.
Mother and father James and Linda Thompson have been instructed little Virgil would seemingly by no means make it to high school age and to benefit from the time they’d. And that is what they did. They did not inform the toddler about his analysis, permitting him to have a traditional childhood.
When Virgil was 14, he began having ache in his chest. He instructed his mother and father, and so they shared that early analysis with him.
As he obtained older, he began needing to take medication and making extra journeys to the hospital. He was accepted to regulation college after graduating from the College of Tennessee, however his well being compelled him to depart.
“That damage. That is what I used to be going to do. I used to be going to turn into a lawyer. That was all the time my plan,” he stated.
Virgil stated he was misplaced for a time.
“However God was with me the entire time,” he stated throughout that Might testimony.
A Love Story
Virgil first met Jennifer when each have been college students at Roane State Group School. They dated briefly however went their separate methods after faculty.
“I all the time thought he was so good-looking,” she stated. “I all the time puzzled what occurred to that man.”
In early 2012, social media introduced the 2 again collectively. He requested her to satisfy up for a cup of espresso. The now-single mother of a 4-year-old thought, “Why not?”
“He was doing so properly together with his well being then,” she stated.
“I would all the time felt in my coronary heart I had met the particular person I used to be speculated to be with. Virgil was the one,” she stated.
As their relationship progressed, they started speaking about marriage. When a cystic fibrosis flare-up left him hospitalized that December, he frightened his situation could be a “deal breaker” for the connection. He wanted to relocate from Knoxville to Crossville.
“I rapidly stated, ‘Nicely, I can include you,'” Jennifer stated. “I’m honored God thought sufficient of me to convey us collectively.”
The 2 married in April 2013 and arrange their house in Cumberland County.
Virgil had been instructed he would seemingly by no means have kids of his personal. Medical doctors additionally cautioned him in opposition to stepchildren, as a result of kids usually have sicknesses. Cystic fibrosis made him prone to respiratory infections and pneumonia.
Virgil stated changing into a stepfather was a miracle.
Then, in 2015, the couple had a second miracle, when Virgil Blue was born, named that for his blue eyes.
His 36th birthday was a celebration. That had been the common life expectancy of CF sufferers, although therapies proceed to increase that quantity.
In the previous few years, Virgil’s hospital visits had turn into extra frequent. He began having to hold an oxygen backpack and his lung operate decreased. He had bother planning with mates or household as a result of he by no means knew how he would really feel that day.
“Virgil had been prepping his entire life that sooner or later he would possibly want a lung transplant,” Jennifer stated.
His lung operate was about 20% at the moment. Vanderbilt referred him to Duke College Medical Heart’s transplant middle. One of many medical doctors requested why Virgil wished a lung transplant.
“He stated, ‘I’ve obtained these two boys. I really feel like if I can spend just a little extra time, high quality time, with them and develop them of their stroll with the Lord, and prepare them proper, that it will be value it,'” Jennifer stated.
“The physician stated, ‘I believe we may also help you, son.'”
The couple made their plans to relocate to Durham in June. Duke brings transplant sufferers to the campus and begins their rehabilitation previous to surgical procedure. That may assist enhance restoration time.
However a lung transplant comes with quite a lot of potential issues. Virgil stated throughout that Might testimony at his church medical doctors stated there was as much as 60% likelihood he would not survive the transplant.
His lung operate was at 17% at the moment.
“That is half a breath,” Virgil stated.
The surgical procedure was a hit, Jennifer stated. The surgeon stated every little thing went completely.
Virgil additionally made a donation of his lungs to advance analysis in cystic fibrosis remedy.
That was in July. As college was on the point of begin, he felt ok to ship Jennifer again house for the youngsters as they began again to high school. Quickly, he rejoined his household.
“Virgil had vitality,” Jennifer stated.
They performed outdoors. They hiked to base of Ozone Falls. He put up lights outdoors their house.
The household had a cheerful Christmas. Across the new yr, as they walked up the hill in entrance of their house, Virgil turned to Jennifer and stated, “Even when I haven’t got quite a lot of days, this transplant was value it. Take a look at what I can do. I am not utilizing oxygen. I am getting to look at the youngsters play. I am attending to do issues I’ve not been in a position to do.”
Life is a Vapor
In January, Virgil started feeling in need of breath once more. He required rising quantities of oxygen, as properly.
Duke despatched a airplane to Crossville to move him and Jennifer again to Durham for remedy. Transplant sufferers take quite a lot of medication to stop their immune system from attacking their new organs. Sadly, the donor lungs carried a virus Virgil had by no means been uncovered to, and the immunity-suppressing medication have been unable to cease his physique’s response. His lungs have been scarred an excessive amount of to permit him to get better. Virgil handed away Feb. 20.
Jennifer stated, “He had high quality time after the transplant, and we’ve a brand new set of reminiscences that will not have been potential with out our donor household.”
She’s grateful for each second she had with Virgil. She’s grateful for each reminiscence she and her boys must treasure.
When she returned house, she discovered the beginnings of Virgil’s subsequent testimony. A number of church buildings had requested him to talk when he felt as much as it.
“God is with you,” it begins. “The reminder that life is a vapor (James 4:14) has been revelating in my thoughts,” he wrote.
Jennifer stated the Cumberland County neighborhood has wrapped her in love these previous months. There have been care packages whereas in Durham, presents of meals when she returned and numerous prayers.
Jennifer is holding to her religion and hopes she’ll see him once more sooner or later in Heaven.
There are greater than 115,000 folks at the moment awaiting the reward of an organ donation. One other particular person is added to the ready listing each 10 minutes.
Donations embrace very important organs like lungs, hearts, livers or kidneys. One particular person can save as much as eight lives by organ donation. Tissue donations of corneas, coronary heart valves, pores and skin, nerves and extra can impression 50 lives.
People can authorize organ donation by a sophisticated directive or residing will, the Apple Well being app, by the Division of Security driver’s license or on-line at www.donatelifetn.org, www.registerme.org or www.BeTheGiftToday.com.