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IRVING Less than a year ago, Courtney White was near death and in need of a life-saving surgery a double lung transplant.

Today, she's talking about college... and a career.

"It's amazing to have her here," said her mom, Laura White.

You might ask what's so amazing about someone just sitting in a chair at home. Courtney White is petite. She weighs not quite 80 lbs.

The chair she sits in nearly swallows her. Her feet dangle inches off the floor. But last summer, Courtney was too sick to even sit up.

"I don't think I realized how sick I was until afterward," she said. "I knew I was so sick that I didn't feel like getting up and even walking to the bedroom."

Courtney has cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic lung disease. Both of her lungs collapsed, and she spent most of last year in the hospital hooked up to machines to help her breathe.

Without a double lung transplant, doctors said she would die. Then in mid-October Laura White remembers getting the good news.

"He said, 'We have lungs!' And I said, 'What?' And he's tearing up, and he said, 'We have lungs!'"

On October 10, 2012, Courtney got those new lungs, and she now says every new breath she takes is more amazing than the last. That's quite a difference from the way she felt before the transplant.

"You can't ever take a very deep breath," she recalled. "Every time you walk, you're like, 'Hold on a minute... I need to catch my breath!' But after the transplant, after you get those new lungs, when you take a deep breath... you're like, 'Wow!'"

Now Courtney hopes to take her love of sewing, arts and crafts to interior design school.

"She's been a huge inspiration to everyone," her mom said.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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