Second Chance Blog


Woman Finally Able to Meet Newborn Son Thanks to Hero Organ Donor

Melissa was born with Cystic Fibrosis, but that hasn’t stopped her from living her best life.  She has continued to amaze those around her with bravery, perseverance and positivity in overcoming her illness. We are especially inspired by her story, submitted by Melissa and her family for us to share below!

Near Christmas in 2015, Melissa Courchain and her husband Bob shared with their family some wonderful news: Melissa was pregnant.  This was the first in what would become many miracles to come. Just six months later in June of 2016, while in her third trimester, Melissa went into septic shock due to a powerful infection that began in her lungs. On the morning of June 30th, she underwent a risky emergency C-section in order to save both her life as well as her child’s. Austin Robert Courchain was successfully delivered and taken to the Intensive Care Nursery, while Melissa was moved to the Intensive Care Unit. Over the next few days, her family and friends remained by her side, praying for a miracle.

It was soon determined that Melissa’s lungs were damaged beyond repair and she would need a life-saving lung transplant. She bravely fought through several more weeks on the ventilator with many ups and downs, during which Austin could sometimes be brought by nurses to say hi. Soon, Austin was given a clean bill of health and he was able to go home.

Nearly two months after the deadly infection attacked Melissa’s lungs, she received the call. Finally, Melissa got a second chance at life from a registered organ donor. In August 2016, Melissa received a new set of lungs from a generous donor and it wasn’t long before she was awake and fighting again. She courageously powered through weeks of recovery, physical therapy and procedures until she was finally able to return home.

Melissa continued to impress everyone around her with her quick rehabilitation and she was finally able to bond at home with baby Austin, bob and their dog Scootcheroni. It has been a tough and treacherous road since recovering from surgery.  In December, Melissa became ill with another resistant infection and she was soon back in the ICU on a ventilator. She required life-saving support through continuous dialysis and ECMO because the ventilator was no longer working for her. Two days after Christmas, Melissa had an emergency surgery on one of her lungs and the family’s prayers were answered when she came back with no complications.

Today, Melissa is finally home with her family. Austin (aka Stinky Butt, according to his mom) is now 15 months old, walking, and keeping Melissa and Bob on their toes! Melissa has even returned to work, but her true full-time job is staying healthy and strong post-transplant. Just as before her life-saving surgery, she continues to inspire friends and family with a contagious commitment to push any boundaries that get in her way! Almost a year after her transplant, she even got permission from her doctors to ride the new roller coaster at the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk… something she insisted for months she would do!

One Response to “Woman Finally Able to Meet Newborn Son Thanks to Hero Organ Donor”

  1. Monica Colsher says:

    You are such a strong, brave, inspiring woman.
    I am sure this story will give hope to so many struggling with health problems.
    God bless you and your family.

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