TOP PHOTO: East LaFollette Pastor and double lung transplant recipient Zach Lloyd spoke at Tuesday’s South Campbell County Rotary Club

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – East LaFollette Pastor and double lung transplant recipient Zach Lloyd spoke at Tuesday’s South Campbell County Rotary Club meeting about organ donation. April is National Donate Life Month and April 16-22 is National Donate Life week. 

His visit was to promote Donate Life and Donate Services of Tennessee for organ donation, which “saved his life.” 

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Donate Life,” Lloyd said. 

Lloyd fell sick with Covid in October 2020, and the disease ravaged his lungs beyond repair. At the time, he was one of three cases across the country in need of a lung transplant due to Covid. Now lung transplants due to Covid have increased by 15 percent. 

Lloyd said he was blessed to be at Vanderbilt Hospital and have his medical team, as well as prayers from everyone. 

“Lung transplant was my only option or I would have had to stay hooked up to machines in the hospital. My life is my wife and my two children, my family and my church. I was blessed by this miracle of life through organ donation,” Lloyd said.  The lungs he received on Jan. 28 were a “number one draft pick” and were the perfect fit and size from a donor his age. 

“You don’t know where they come from, or the situation, but you know it saved your life,” Lloyd said.

His double lung transplant surgery lasted 12 hours. It had its “ups and downs, but God answered prayers.”

Now recovered and mostly cleared for activities, Lloyd lives with some life restrictions such as no swimming in the lake and a few others, but the tradeoff to be alive and with his family is worth it all. 

“They had exhausted all medical information to make me better, but because of the gift of life through transplant I was able to see my daughter’s birthday … able to baptize both my kids in August … able to be home for board game nights with them, because of the lasting legacy through organ donation,” Lloyd said. 

According to Lloyd, his passion since his transplant is informing others about the importance of organ donation and transplant.

“You can save up to eight peoples lives with one donation, and there are ways to make living donations as well,” Lloyd said. 

Currently there are around 110,000 people on the national waiting list for a donation, with about 80 percent of those being kidney transplants needed. In Tennessee, there’s close to 3,100 people on the organ donation list. 

Lloyd also pointed out how blessed Campbell County has been with donations over the last two years, with himself receiving a double lung transplant, Baby Jack Price receiving a bone marrow transplant and Baby Patrick O’Daniel receiving a heart transplant. 

“My prayer is that we as a county understand the importance of that legacy of life. I encourage everyone to think about organ donation and talk to your family about it. It can make a lasting legacy of life for someone down the road,” Lloyd said.  

Through the hospital, Lloyd has sent a message to the family of his donor with the hope to someday thank them. 

“I hope to meet them someday and have a long conversation. They have left me with a lasting legacy I carry with me each and every day,” Lloyd said. 

For more information, visit HERE and you can also sign up for organ donation through the Tennessee Driver Services. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/06/2022-6AM)