New lungs, new life: Viral video shows a Byron woman's first breath with new lungs

Woman with Cystic Fibrosis taking her first unobstructed breath after lung transplant has been viewed more than 30 million times.

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 6:54 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 7:16 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - A video that documents a powerful post-surgery moment at Mayo Clinic has gone viral. It shows Jennifer Jones taking her first unobstructed breath and has been viewed more than 30 million times. 

Jennifer'sfiancé, Rob Ronnenberg, captured the video and posted it to YouTube following her surgery last October. The Byron couple has no idea why more than four months later, the video is getting so much attention online.
Regardless, the timing couldn't have been better because Wednesday is National Donor Day, a day to honor those who give the gift of life and make moments like this possible.

"For so long I have not been able to breathe like that," says Jennifer, who admits there's a lot she doesn't recall after her lung transplant surgery. What she does remember is everything about her first breath with her new lungs.

"At first I was scared and then it was like, 'oh, my goodness, I can breathe! I can still breathe and I'm still taking in all this air,' and it was overwhelming. It was incredible," she explains. 

Eleven years ago, Jennifer was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Over the years her lung function continued to decline, making even the simplest of tasks very difficult. In June of last year, she started tests to see if she would be a candidate for transplant. By the time she found a match in October, her lung function was down to just 10.8 percent. Today, she's able to live a normal  life with 93 percent lung function, all thanks to an anonymous person who made the decision to become a donor. On this National Donor Day, she has a message for the donor family.

"I wouldn't be here today without them. It's not about me, it's about them and their legacy lives on because I get to live it now and that's a special thing that I am so proud of, and I take these lungs and take this gift as like a child almost, that I'll protect with all my life. Their legacy, but my miracle."

While Jennifer doesn't know if her donor's family has seen the video, she and Rob have been contacted by many donor families who have. One woman who recently reached out told the couple she found comfort in watching it.

"She lost a nephew," Rob explains. "She said, 'you know, we got the card from the family that received the organs and that was nice, but nothing moved me or gave me that sense of closure and really what it means to be an organ donor and recipient like watching this video and seeing her face and knowing that she gets to live and seeing that impact.' That's what this is all about."

Jennifer wanted to see how she recovered after the surgery before attempting to contact her donor's family. She's happy to report she's doing very well and plans to write them a letter soon.

To celebrate National Donor Day, Jennifer and Rob encourage people to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. For more information on becoming a donor click here.

https://registerme.org/

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60101

Reported Deaths: 1689
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19057831
Ramsey7444265
Dakota4334104
Anoka3618114
Stearns288620
Washington207744
Nobles17626
Olmsted171823
Scott153218
Mower10992
Rice10298
Blue Earth9115
Wright8695
Carver8413
Clay77940
Sherburne7188
Kandiyohi6891
St. Louis52119
Lyon4263
Todd4242
Freeborn3591
Steele3451
Nicollet33313
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona25916
Crow Wing23214
Beltrami2230
Le Sueur2171
Martin2075
Chisago1991
Otter Tail1933
Goodhue1929
Cottonwood1770
McLeod1730
Pipestone1559
Becker1521
Polk1504
Waseca1480
Douglas1391
Itasca13812
Unassigned13741
Carlton1350
Pine1290
Dodge1260
Isanti1230
Murray1221
Chippewa1031
Wabasha910
Morrison891
Brown882
Faribault870
Meeker852
Rock830
Sibley832
Jackson810
Koochiching773
Pennington751
Mille Lacs713
Cass692
Fillmore640
Renville635
Lincoln570
Grant533
Swift521
Yellow Medicine520
Roseau470
Pope460
Aitkin401
Houston390
Norman390
Redwood360
Kanabec341
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall300
Mahnomen261
Wadena260
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake200
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle70
Cook30
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48398

Reported Deaths: 925
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10223207
Woodbury371652
Black Hawk311566
Linn234887
Johnson206719
Dallas187835
Buena Vista179112
Scott171614
Dubuque166531
Marshall143826
Pottawattamie131426
Story116014
Wapello88133
Muscatine84648
Webster8017
Crawford7273
Sioux6253
Cerro Gordo60917
Warren5571
Tama54929
Jasper47626
Wright4651
Plymouth4579
Dickinson3804
Clinton3793
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2553
Hamilton2461
Franklin23910
Bremer2247
Clarke1993
Emmet1914
Carroll1881
Clay1861
Shelby1831
Hardin1780
Des Moines1692
Marion1690
Poweshiek1578
Benton1551
Allamakee1544
Floyd1532
Jackson1511
Mahaska13917
Cedar1311
Guthrie1315
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Henry1203
Madison1182
Pocahontas1152
Lee1133
Lyon1132
Delaware1111
Cherokee1081
Humboldt1081
Harrison1060
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek951
Page940
Monona910
Kossuth890
Mills890
Palo Alto840
Sac840
Calhoun832
Jefferson830
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Winnebago790
Mitchell780
Union771
Monroe727
Cass711
Worth660
Lucas634
Montgomery594
Davis551
Chickasaw540
Howard490
Appanoose483
Fremont420
Greene410
Keokuk341
Van Buren341
Adair290
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Mason City
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Albert Lea
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Storm chances End, Cooler & Less Humid Ahead
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Diversity Council hosts 'Allies and Advocates'

Image

More construction in downtown Rochester starts

Image

NIACC baseball pushing athletes to the next level

Image

Sunday weather

Image

Weather

Image

Rochester Area Restore celebrates 6 years

Image

Saturday Weather

Image

Grief mask making workshop

Image

Mace's Weather 8/8

Image

Tractor pullers excited to rev up their engines in 2020

Community Events