'Breathless Bride' defies death

If you haven't gotten around to registering as an organ donor, there's a charming young woman in England who just might give you the nudge you need to stop putting it off.

Her name is Kirstie Mills, and she's the heroine -- and we mean that literally -- of the heart-wrenching special "Breathless Bride: Dying to Live," premiering Wednesday, Feb. 29, on TLC.

Kirstie was born with cystic fibrosis, an incurable lung disease that she shares with about 70,000 people worldwide. The average life expectancy for a CF patient is 38. Kirstie, however, is 21 and is unlikely to make it to 22 without a double lung transplant. Given that three people in the U.K. die every day awaiting organ transplants -- that number is closer to 20 in North America -- the odds aren't good.

Nevertheless, Kirstie is determined to live whatever life she has left to the fullest, and that includes planning her dream wedding to her fiance, Stuart.

Given that a new pair of lungs could become available at any moment, these plans must be flexible. In her typically cheerful manner, Kirstie explains the couple have found a venue that will allow them to reschedule at the last minute. The flowers are artificial, and the wedding cake is a fruitcake, "which keeps for ages." As for the guests, "We'll just shove them in a cupboard for a while," she quips.

In the meantime, she proceeds with all the pre-wedding rituals: the salon visit with her mom and sisters, the bachelorette party, complete with male stripper.

As it turns out, the big day doesn't need to be rescheduled, although Kirstie is hospitalized with a severe lung infection only days before. Her doctors want to keep her for seven days, but she's having none of that.

The wait for donor lungs stretches into the honeymoon period, then Kirstie's health takes a major turn for the worse. We won't give away the outcome, but be prepared to bite a few nails as you wait along with Stuart and the rest of Kirstie's loved ones for the good news that may or may not come.