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More than a match: How two transplant patients found each other through Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Transplant Mentor Program

Carrie and Gary GobbleIn 2004, Carrie Gobble was listed for a lung transplant due to her cystic fibrosis diagnosis, a genetic disease that causes a thick buildup of mucus in the lungs. It would take only nine months to find her match — both for an organ donor and in her now-husband, Gary Gobble, who also received a lung transplant because of cystic fibrosis, and who acted as Carrie’s peer adviser as part of Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Transplant Mentor Program. 

Gary was listed for a lung transplant in 2000, and, two years later, underwent transplant surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. When the hospital launched its transplant mentor program, a social worker tapped Gary to serve as a model and resource for those waiting on the list. Carrie was one of those patients. 

"The biggest thing from my own experience, and I know Carrie’s as well, is that there is this fear of the unknown," Gary remembers. "The ability to meet somebody and say, 'They’ve gone through it and they’re healthy' is huge. It’s a big relief for most patients.”

But Carrie found more than relief. After her successful transplant surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Carrie and Gary decided to date. In July 2005, on Carrie’s birthday, Gary proposed. This year, the couple will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary. And to pay it forward, Carrie is now a mentor in the same program where she met her husband.

“We’re just so grateful and thankful,” Carrie says. “We’re doing stuff that we would never have imagined possible before.”

Learn more about transplants at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

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