Danica Murray is an 18 year old actress, writer, college student, and double lung transplant survivor. She has a strong love of comedy, which has proven helpful in the battle for her life. She hopes to one day write stories like hers for film and television in which sick and disabled stories, are not tragic stories.

Read her play Hostel!

Danica's Journey

I think I have lived a lot of life thus far in my brief 19 years. Being born with Cystic Fibrosis I grew up with a life-long regiment of hospital stays, breathing treatments, surgeries, etc. Every day my life has been pills, treatment, IVs, doctors, hospitals, treatments, pills, repeat. But that’s not all my life has been.

My life has also been writing, school, getting my black belt in Taekwondo, being a Youth in Government chairwoman, starring in musicals and professional plays at regional theaters, being in my college honors program, and so many more wonderful things. I had a nonstop lifestyle. Being raised with CF, I believed I had to see and do absolutely everything before it was too late. I was always told my lungs would kill me eventually. It was not a matter of if, but when. In the spring semester of my senior year of highschool, my fast-paced life came to a halt. Right at the peak of it all, my life came crashing down as I caught the Flu on my already compromised lungs. After a couple of months in the local hospital trying to recover, I was medically transported to UF Health SHANDS in Gainesville Florida, where my lungs failed upon arrival and I was intubated. They listed me for transplant, but they were not sure I’d live long enough for them to find a pair of lungs. I became so sick, I was moved to the top of the national waiting list. Finally, one week after being listed and two weeks of intubation, they found a perfect match. Not only was the match perfect, but I survived the incredibly high risk surgery, and recovered quicker than any patient they had ever seen in my position. Within months I went from paralyzed, unable to breathe, to running, acting, back to college, working an internship and truly living life with a new perspective. That was my Cystic Fibrosis due date. That was my “when”. Life pushed me to either die, or survive and live every day with purpose. It fuels my studies. It allows me to see the things that really matter. I couldn’t be more grateful for my life, my new lungs, and my family. It will not be easy though moving forward. My lungs are “million dollar lungs” and I will face rejection complications the rest of my life. I never know which day could be my last so I intend to do everything while I can. I want to write and write and write. 500 words probably doesn’t display that too nicely - but writing for myself and for others is the dream. I’d like to write for television and film one day. One particular thing that moved me through my intubation and transplant, has been a general love for comedy and entertainment. After I got out of surgery, and could finally talk, I felt I had a lot of jokes to catch up on. Even though I took a semester of sign language, and could technically communicate on the vent - apparently no one else took a semester of sign language and could NOT in fact communicate with me. And apparently my comedic timing via sign language falls short. But after an experience of silence, disconnect, and survival, I have an incredibly unshakeable determination to tell as many stories and jokes as possible - in the hopes that I may never have to fall silent again. I hope to share my story, my passions, and my love of life and laughter with anyone I come across.