RICHMOND, Va. -- It was one of the Richmond’s early social media campaigns to save someone’s life – and it worked.
#HelpTuckerBreathe bought a young man with a death sentence of cystic fibrosis an extra two full years and one month of life.
It was something that absolutely blew him away when he woke up from his double-lung transplant in May to 2013 to find not only could he breathe, but the campaign had raised nearly $76,000 and people around the world were learning about this brutal lung-destroying disease through his story.
“I can’t express how touched I was after coming to and reading all these comments from strangers I had never me before,” Tucker Gordon told us in January of 2014. Among those messages, he said, “We love you. We believe in you. Keep breathing.”
And that’s what he did until Monday morning (June 15), when he died of complications.
“Tucker’s body did not reject his lungs,” said his mother, Page Gordon. “There was just several complications that went along with it . . . he did not suffer and he was at peace.”
Tucker, age 27, had fought cystic fibrosis — a rare disease that attacks the lungs, pancreas and liver – since he was 14 months old.
This Deep Run High School graduate and day care worker, played football, ran track, snowboarded and boxed to stay in tip-top shape.
He continued that – as much as possible - with his new lungs.
“Tucker went to orchards and biked and loved and walked and went down the James River with his beloved dogs,” his mother said. “More importantly, Tucker fell in love with the woman he wanted to spend his life with.”
In those two full years, Tucker campaigned for cystic fibrosis and transplant causes. He was able to go back, for a time, teaching children.
When his health took a hard turn in March, he moved back in with his mother, still believing that he and his girlfriend would soon move in the place they picked out.
“He left this world breathing easy,” his mother said.
How many thousands, millions of breaths did he get to take because of friends and strangers who cared?
His funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday (June 20) at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1101 Forest Avenue.