Everyone’s got a story at Baylor Hospital’s Transplant Reunion

DALLAS -- At Baylor Hospital's Transplant Reunion, everyone has a story. With 33 years worth of transplant operations there, you can imagine how many there are.

Graham McMillan and Danny Kolzow got an award for theirs. You might remember them as the 'Urine need of a kidney' guys!

Two older men sitting together do also. They're lung brothers! One got the left one, and the other got the right from a common donor.

Another person there with a story is Karen Brown.

"We live in a small town," Brown said Sunday. "We live in Graham. We're just regular ol' people."

Fifteen years ago, things stopped being regular for Karen. She got put on oxygen by her family doctor for what he thought was an effect of smoking, something they called lazy lung. She put down the light, but it just got worse.

"Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis," Brown said, naming the disease a Fort Worth doctor finally diagnosed five years ago. "They don't know how you get it. They don't know how you cure it."

It wasn't related to the smoking at all, and the only option was a transplant.

If the previous 15 years were the darkest part of Brown's life, June 7, 2016, is when the sun finally rose.

"Being able to take a breath when you couldn't do it before, it's a gift you don't realize until you get it," Brown said through tears.

For a survivor like Karen, every breath is a gift, and she's not planning to waste it.