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Jillian's Story


The dream of receiving a double lung transplant felt like a miracle to Jillian. After patiently waiting for 365 days, she received the call that would give her a future and the chance to achieve her goals: finishing her degree, starting a career, finding love, and most importantly, one day starting her own family. None of this would have been possible without the success of her double lung transplant.

During the depths of her prognosis, it was difficult for Jillian to envision her life on the other side of the transplant. She never imagined her health could be restored. This journey came with a mix of emotions: excitement, fear, anxiety, depression, hope, grace, and honor. She had to navigate each step of the grieving process to accept her new reality and feel worthy of the honorable gift from a selfless donor and their family.

Today, Jillian lives each day with gratitude, understanding that life should never be taken for granted. She focuses on not sweating the small stuff and believes in paying it forward by blessing others who may be struggling or going through similar situations.

Jillian found love during and after her transplant journey, a pure and honest relationship she thanks God for every day. Meeting her partner while on the waiting list, breathing through borrowed air and time, they never let the weight of statistics, prognosis, or hurdles get in the way of loving each other for who they were. Thanks to her life-saving surgery and medical advancements in Cystic Fibrosis, the dream of having a marriage and a family is now more real than ever. Jillian is forever grateful for this second chance at life.

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In 2020, Jillian founded the Jillian's Jay Walkers Organization with the intent to bring awareness to Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic, terminal illness.

The organization hosts yearly fundraisers to support the cause, helping others with CF live healthy, happy, and sustainable lives. The mission is not only to raise awareness but also to join the fight for a cure. By providing financial assistance, disease management education, and peer support, Jillian's Jay Walkers serves the CF community through outreach programs and yearly fundraising events.

In the spring of 2019, as Jillian’s health began to decline, she turned to the charitable donations granted by the Jay Walkers Organization. These funds helped support her and her family through the life-saving bilateral lung transplant surgery. Jillian received the Gift of Life from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) at the University of Michigan.

Jillian aims to share her knowledge and experience with those struggling to find the necessary help, resources, care, and attention needed to live a quality life with Cystic Fibrosis. She offers love and support to spouses, families, and friends who need someone to talk to who can relate to caring for someone with a terminal illness.

Since 2020, we have raised a total of:

We have helped a total of:


30 Families

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Image by Eli DeFaria

Real Stories. Real Impact.

“Jillian’s Jay Walkers is about hope. Jillian is a double lung transplant survivor and an inspiration to so many, including myself.”

– David K.

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