My name is Jessica and I'm 18 years old. I didn't think I'd ever be able to say that, because since the age of 13 I'd been getting progressively worse with cystic fibrosis. I was just a child and facing the daunting reality that I could die, without yet having lived. I was devastated. I felt I had so much to give, but my body was physically stopping me from giving it. I was getting more and more sick, weak and debilitated. I couldn't walk, talk, or even breathe without help.
But after years of being sick, missing out and then so close to death, I received a double lung transplant. It's a new chance of life that I've been committed to making the most of. I graduated from Year 12, finished a college course with HDs, am doing a law/journalism double degree and French at university, met my journalism hero Ray Martin, had a makeover with my mum on television, won 16 medals in the Australian Transplant Games, and met the inspiring, amazing Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
But it's little things that the average person takes for granted that I am also grateful for. Being able to do everyday things without it being a tiring and painful effort and not being constantly dependent on others.
I have my life back now and the difference has been incredible. All the dreams and aspirations I once had, became possible again. Everything now is a new opportunity to seize.
I wouldn't have got through this ordeal without my family, but it would have been impossible without a donor. I treat this extraordinary gift of life with the highest respect and appreciation. I encourage all Australians to donate their organs to save lives - it could be the most amazing thing you could ever do for someone else.