3 years after getting new lungs, Topeka teen celebrates 3rd "Breath Day"

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Thursday marks the three year anniversary of Madison Taliaferro's double lung transplant. To celebrate that, over 100 of her friends and family came out to celebrate at the Indian Hills Elementary School.

"This has been a dream of mine for a while and I've wanted to share it. I wanted it to be on her fifth breath day, but there's no time like the present," said Madison's mother Desiree Taliaferro.

Madison was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and had a continued lung function decline until she was 12-years-old.

"She was faced with a difficult decision to go on the lung transplant list in 2012," said Desiree Taliaferro.

It typically takes from 12 to 36 hours for an organ to be matched. For Madison and 17-year-old Alex Lott's lungs, it only took eight hours.

Thursday night for the first time, the Taliaferro family had the opportunity to meet the parents of Alex, the boy who changed their lives.

"We're so proud to be here and so glad to celebrate with this family. It's been a very healing trip for us," said Alex Lott's mother, Penny Lott.

Alex died of injuries from an accident nearly three years ago. He had signed up to be an organ donor just one year before that, not realizing then how life-changing that decision would be.

"I fully believe that all of this was preordained and just meant to be," said Penny Lott.

The Taliaferro's were happy to invite them into their community, so they could be thanked by many of Madison's supporters.

"Many people prayed for Madison, and there were people praying for Alex at the same time. It brought us all together and we didn't even know it," said Desiree Taliaferro.

Now, with hope to continue healing, both families want to bring awareness to the ultimate gift organ donations can bring.

"It changes people's lives, it changes a whole community," said Desiree Taliaferro.

"To me, that's the ultimate help, the gift of life," said Penny Lott.

Kansas Jayhawks Head Coach Bill Self helped Madison celebrate by recording a video, which was played during the party. (You can watch the video above)