From teen's death comes gift of life

Author: Sally Showman
Published On: Sep 12 2011 11:48:59 AM PDT   Updated On: Oct 01 2010 06:17:39 AM PDT
SPOKANE -

Almost two years ago 16-year-old Lorissa Green died in a car crash on Highway 195. From her death came a well-spring of life as her donated organs have saved or enhanced the lives of 19 people.

Lorissa Green's mom, Debi Hammel, began writing the people who would later receive Lorissa's organs while she was in the ICU with her daughter waiting for the transplant surgery. More than anything she wanted to know that something good could come from her daughter?s death.

And this weekend Debi has company staying over, living proof that something good came from the loss of her daughter. You see, Jolene Evans is paying Debi a visit for the first time. Evans is alive today thanks to Lorissa, whose lungs were donated to her.

Jolene had an autoimmune disease that was destroying her lungs. Doctors tell her she only had five months to live. At the time her lungs were operating at 9-percent. Then the call came that she was going to be able to get a lung transplant.

The lungs belonged to Lorissa Green.

?I have her picture; she?s in my kitchen and I say hello to her every morning and thank you for my lungs and I talk to her on and off through the day,? Jolene said.

And so this weekend Lorissa's family is getting to know the woman their sister and daughter saved and Jolene is getting to know the family of the young girl who gave her the ultimate gift.

?I think as a parent who loses a child your biggest fear is they're going to be forgotten. I know with Jolene she?s not going to forget,? Debi said.

For Jolene every breath is a reminder of the girl who saved her life.

?I feel like I?m getting closer to her and getting to know her,? she said.

Jolene has spent the last year and a half recovering physically while Lorissa?s family has been recovering emotionally. They both say this visit is an important step in the healing process.

?I?m very grateful and I feel blessed,? Jolene said.

Jolene?s lung capacity is back up to nearly 60-percent and so far there hasn?t been any sign of rejection.