Unfortunately, Jorge Bacardi didn’t have pure luck. Jorge was given a cystic fibrosis diagnosis when he was a young child. He would not live past the age of 12, according to medical professionals. He did. Doctors then informed him that he would not survive to be 40. He also disproved their assumption regarding such forecast. Jorge actually didn’t have cystic fibrosis at all, as it turned out. Jorge finally received a correct diagnosis of a different, potentially fatal lung condition in the late 1990s. Jorge actually had a condition known as primary ciliary dyskinesia. Primary ciliary dyskinesiaa is disease in which the cilia that move mucus through the airways are abnormal, causing the mucus to accumulate and cause infections and blockages. No treatment exists.
A double lung transplant was the only thing that could keep Jorge alive. By the time he was in his early 60s, Jorge had been on the transplant waiting list for years, was near death, and was on oxygen 24/7 just to be able to draw a proper breath. For him to live for much longer, a miracle was required. Thanks to a kind stranger who met a tragic end, that miracle arrived from a great distance away.
It came out that three years earlier, when Christopher received his driver’s license, he had signed up to be an organ donor. His corneas went to two people and his organs went to five people. They included Jorge Bacardi as one of the five. Christopher gave him his lungs.
Jorge was 64-years-old at the time of the surgery. Seven hours were spent during the double lung transplant procedure.
To start what would become the Gabriel House of Care at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Jorge and his wife Leslie gave $13.5 million.
Getty Images/Cliff Hawkins
Today the Gabriel House of Care provides affordable lodging to adult transplant and cancer patients and their caregivers for patients at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, the UF Health Proton Institute, the Ackerman Cancer Center, and other nearby medical facilities. In order to lessen stress and enhance quality of life, Gabriel House offers a secure setting with therapeutic services.
Jorge Bacardi had healthy lungs for the first time in his life and lived for another 12 years as a result of Christopher Gregory’s decision to donate his organs. He might go fishing and play tennis. He continued to communicate with the Gregorys.
Jorge and Leslie Bacardi established the Jorge and Leslie Bacardi Fund in Regenerative Medicine in 2014 by making a further sizable donation. They made the gift in honor of Cesar A. Keller, M.D., one of the doctors involved in his care before the lung transplant arrived.
On September 23, 2020, Jorge Bacardi passed away in his Bahamas residence.
Eric Gregory, Christopher’s father, authored a book about his son and how Jorge Bacardi was affected by Christopher Gregory. That book “All my Tomorrows: A Story of Tragedy, Transplant, and Hope” has been adapted by Netflix into the 2021 film “2 Hearts.”
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