Photo courtesy of Jamie Warren
Jamie Warren (right)who received a double-lung transplant four years ago, celebrates the graduation of her husband Bryan from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., last spring.
Jamie Peery Warren is doing just fine, thank you.
Speaking from her home in Norman, Okla., the former Blackfoot woman excitedly noted that she and her donor's lungs completed their first five-kilometer race in mid-September.
Four years ago, thanks to the help of the Blackfoot community, Warren traveled to Pittsburgh, Penn., and had a double-lung transplant.
Shortly thereafter, Warren and her husband Bryan moved to Phoenix, Ariz., so he could become a motorcycle technician.
"After my transplant, Bryan wanted to work on motorcycles," she said. "Since he had taken care of me for many years, I decided to let him follow his dream."
After his graduation from Motorcyle Mechanics Institute, he got a job in Oklahoma where the couple now lives.
For those unfamiliar with Warren's story, she was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease which makes it difficult to breathe. Despite her disease, she graduated from Blackfoot High School. Shortly thereafter she and Bryan married.
"It was challenging, to say the least," she said of her life with the disease. "I never expected to live to the age of 30 and I did.
"In 2007 I got really sick," she recalled. "It got really hard for awhile, then it got a lot better (after her transplant)."
Earlier this year a friend noticed that Reader's Digest magazine was conducting a Facebook contest, encouraging people to tell their uplifting life stories in 150 words. (To put that in context, this story is 530 words.)
Before her transplant Warren pursued an acting career, in part because it was something she could do immediately. She had been interested in the arts from the age of nine.
"I went back to my original goal," following her transplant, she said. "I've had some great opportunities here in Oklahoma. I've done a Gatorade commercial and I've been a body double for a 13-year-old actress. I finally have the health to pursue my career."
Warren's story is already listed as an editor's choice on the magazine's Facebook page. Friends, neighbors and community members can read it and vote for it at
http://apps.facebook.com/yourlifecontest/content/28-breaths-minute. The contest runs through Oct. 31 and people can vote once a day until then.
One of the prizes in the contest is having the winner's story published in the magazine. And there is a monetary award as well.
"Keeping it to 150 words was hard because it was so miraculous," she said of her story. "My story is one of hope, of not giving up and beating the odds.
"It took many people, the whole community of Blackfoot," she added.
Warren's parents, Doug and Christie Peery, still live in Blackfoot. So does her sister Nikkii. Her brothers Corey and Brant are in San Diego, Calif., and Idaho Falls respectively.
"The gift of life is amazing," Warren said, noting that she volunteers as a spokesman for organ donation. "My organ donor is my hero. She's the key to my story. Without that gift it would not have happened.
"The whole town rallied together and helped send me to Pittsburgh," she recalled.
For more information about Warren and her story of hope, go to http://www.jamiebug.blogspot.com or http://www.jamiebug.com.