John and Jill (1)April is National Donate Life Month, and today happens to be Donate Life Blue and Green Day, a day set aside specifically to spread awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.

J&P Cycles has a special connection to this effort as our founder John Parham received a life-saving lung transplant almost four years ago. As you may recall, we shared John’s story from waiting for a lung to his recovery just a week after his lung transplant and his last update, a year post-surgery, here on the J&P blog.

In the nearly three years since that last post, John has been busy promoting his love of antique motorcycles and the beautiful National Motorcycle Museum, located just a mile down the road from J&P Cycles. Since John’s retirement from J&P, he has been able to focus 100% on the Museum. In doing so, the Museum’s collection has grown to well over 400 priceless machines in addition to motorcycle memorabilia, antique motorcycle toys, photos and posters.

Like other transplant patients, John has had his share of ups and downs. There have been illnesses, trips to the hospital and changes in his medicine regimen, but he and his wife, Jill, are living their life to the fullest. They were able to spend five weeks in Florida this winter, even attending Bike Week. Looking forward to this summer, a motorcycle trip is in the cards, and they should be able to do so in style, and comfort as a new Harley-Davidson trike has been ordered and is on the way for them.

And then there’s his family. At the time of John’s lung transplant, the Parham family consisted of not only John and Jill, but son, Zach, daughter-in-law, Bree and grandson, Kaiden, who was a toddler. Now, 5-years-old, Kaiden isn’t the only grandchild anymore. There’s a granddaughter, Kinlee who will be 3 in May. Each day with their grandchildren is a reminder of the blessings that have been bestowed upon them, and they spend as much time as possible with the two of them

John is not shy in talking about his illness, organ donation and how important it is. He is a firm believer in the work being done by the Donate Life Organization and encourages everyone to consider being an organ donor. According to the Donate Life website, more than 120,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants in the United States. In 2012, there were 28,052 organ transplants performed with 14,013 organ donors.

Without the selfless gift of another family, he never would have seen his grandson grow and his granddaughter be born let alone live life for another four years.