By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4)– A Denver man is sharing his story after receiving the gift of a lifetime, not once but twice.

James Watson, 41, has had not one, but two double lung transplants. Gifts from strangers who saved his life by choosing organ donation.

(credit: CBS)

“Organ transplant will save lives. It is seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said James.

(credit: James Watson)

James had his first transplant when he was in his 20s. His second one was this past April.

(credit: James Watson)

“My first transplant went 13 years. The normal time frame is about 5 to 10. So I got 13 years out of my first one and I expect to get many more out of this one,” said James.

Even after his first transplant, James continued to make the most of his life.

(credit: James Watson)

Snowboarding, hockey, football games and traveling the world.

(credit: James Watson)

The best thing was meeting his wife, Shelley. What followed he calls the greatest moment of his life, his son Alec, now 2 years old.

(credit: James Watson)

“He was born 11 years to the day of my first transplant.”

For his doctor at the University of Colorado Hospital, Dr. Joe Crossno, getting James the second transplant was a no-brainer.

(credit: James Watson)

“Getting a second one is not very common I think my surgeon said he had only done 12 of them in his career,” said James.

(credit: CBS)

James wouldn’t trade his life for anything. It may sound odd but James says even if he had the chance to be born without cystic fibrosis, he wouldn’t take it.

“I don’t know any different and I wouldn’t want any different. I wouldn’t want any different because the special people that are in my life, I wouldn’t have those.”

(credit: CBS)

James has a lot of people who support him but it’s the people he doesn’t know, the organ donors, he owes his life and thanks to.

“The last 13 years of my life have been amazing, I’ve got many more coming ahead.”


Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.


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