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'The Donor Gave Up Their Life': Pittsburgh-Area Double-Lung Transplant Recipient Is Thankful For Life. He's Now Putting His Health First During The Coronavirus Pandemic

PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- The coronavirus pandemic is forcing brick and mortar stores to take risks if they want to stay in business.

Some owners are permanently ditching the storefronts and shifting entirely to online sales.

Jim Uhrig told KDKA's Meghan Schiller he's used to taking risks and looking on the bright side.

He said it's all about putting things in perspective, which is why it's fitting he owns a custom framing shop in Peters Township.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Like so many business owners, Uhrig — who owns Windswept Frame and Art — needs to change the way he looks at things.

"There's some people that called me to order something similar to what they had before, but basically all my income has stopped since the middle of March," Uhrig said.

Since the governor's stay-at-home order, not a single customer has walked through his doors.

"As a transplant recipient, you just look for other options," Uhrig said.

He first posted two signs, warning even the mailman not to enter.

Then he finally made the tough call to close and sell his frames online.

"But the thing is, I won't have any more utilities, I won't have computer costs, I won't have rent," Uhrig said. "So my savings will go right to the bottom line."

The risk of coming in contact with a sick person proved too great. His respect for one special woman runs too deep.

"Her name was Judy Murphy, so I got some good Irish parts in me," said Uhrig.

Murphy's two lungs now keep him breathing, a gift he doesn't take lightly.

"The donor gave up their life to be your save and gee, that's a pretty awesome responsibility," Uhrig said.

Fiercely optimistic, he said he'll always keep her selfless gift in focus.

"I got a lot of medical issues. I don't wake up and think about my medical issues, I think about how am I going to build this frame," Uhrig said.

With the support of his loyal customers and "try-anything-once" attitude, Uhrig told KDKA's Meghan Schiller he's not afraid of his business failing.

After all, he's no longer living just for himself. He owes it to two people now to try his best.

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