Brittany Olson, a 27-year-old from Worthington, Minn., can breathe easier now. That’s no small feat for a woman who has struggled with cystic fibrosis her whole life.
She can thank Felicia Baxter, a 17-year-old high school senior from Pasco County, Fla., who died about a week after sustaining serious injuries in a rollover crash.
“She was my hero, my idol,” Felicia’s mother, Jana Vento, tells the Globe of Worthington. “I looked up to her because she did everything, and she did everything 100 percent. If she set her mind to it, she would do it.”
Today is the day! I am discharged from the hospital! 3 weeks exactly. I even got to see my surgeon before leaving too….
“She wanted to do so many things, she changed her mind every day,” Felicia’s sister, Brianna, said. “She wanted to be a U.S. History teacher because she loved history, she wanted to be a math teacher because she loved math, she wanted to be a horse trainer … I don’t know why. She wanted to go to school as a video game designer because she loved art. She did a lot.”
She didn’t get to do any of it. But she did sign up to be an organ donor.
“She said, ‘Mom, we have to help people. What am I gonna do with it?’ That’s just the kind of person she was. She always helped everybody.”
Brianna reached out to all of the recipients of her daughter’s organs. She got a few notes in return by the Globe says Brittany’s was different.
“For me, it was life or death to where I was going to die without a lung transplant and that was my only option to try and beat cystic fibrosis just a little longer,” Olson said. “We were excited on my end, but at the same time we knew somebody had to die for me to live.”
This week, Felicia’s family is in Worthington, getting to know the woman who has her lungs.
Sixty-nine families have parts of Felicia now, the Globe says.