Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

A perfect match

If the best gift of all is life, then the second-best must be love.

Jessica Scoggins and Daniel Sullivan, both transplant recipients, met through their involvement in LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services support groups. They joined after their transplants and their hearts were shaped in a way they could have never expected.

In the spring of 2018, Daniel received a lung transplant at UF Health Shands. In the fall of 2018, Jessica received a liver transplant at UF Health Shands. Both found a sense of community in their support groups that motivated them to give back.

One day when Daniel and Jessica were volunteering at a LifeQuest event, people began to notice their compatible hearts for living life to the fullest and for promoting the importance of organ donation.

“The people we were volunteering with kept sending us on little adventures and errands together because they were trying to set us up,” Jessica said.

Support group members had a hand in getting Daniel and Jessica together.

Daniel, however, had a different take on their first meeting. “She was giving me the eye,” he said chuckling.

Jessica said she wasn’t expecting anything more than a friend, especially since Daniel would soon be moving to Spain. However, after growing closer, they realized it was worth it.

“With us both being transplant recipients, we know that whatever life we have in this second chance is precious, and we view life in the same way,” Daniel said. “Our time may be limited … you just never know. We try to enjoy the time we have together and make it the best possible.”

Understanding the importance of helping people through the transplant process, Daniel and Jessica use their time together to go to support groups or visit people who are beginning their transplant journey.

“As much as we care for each other, we really find joy in helping other people because what we’ve experienced is not the norm,” Jessica said.

LifeQuest provides an outlet for people to experiencing healing through joy-filled volunteering. Coral Denton, LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services public education coordinator, trains and matches volunteers to work events in groups that allow for relationship building beyond the event or organization. She seeks to build a community-like atmosphere with volunteers from all backgrounds, such as support groups, recipients, donor families and more.

Having trained both Jessica and Daniel, Coral has seen the way volunteering has allowed them to become more comfortable in sharing their stories, both publically and with each other.

“Since getting to know them both, I’ve seen them become more confident in telling their stories and caring for each other,” she said.

Daniel affirmed this truth about his relationship with Jessica.

“She’s felt the same things that I’ve felt,” Daniel said. “It’s so nice to be with someone who gets it.”

If you have a connection to organ donation and are interested in volunteering, please contact Coral Denton at dentcl@lifequest.ufl.edu or 352-733-0350.

This story was written by Emily Dunston, Strategic Communications Intern.

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