In 2002, 7 1/2 years after she was diagnosed with a heart disease, she was sent to Emory University to be evaluated for a heart transplant and was placed on the waiting list, she said.
Six weeks later, the Keysville, Ga., resident was told a donor heart was on its way.
"I went into surgery knowing that I would either wake up and feel good for the first time in almost eight years or I would wake up in heaven," she said.
After a successful surgery, she had an "aha moment".
"It was like an instant feel good," she said. "You go from being so sick to feeling so good and then you realize the greatest gift anybody can give you is the gift of life. For me, that came from an organ donation. I knew right then, that was going to be my 'aha'. I knew I had to pay my gift forward."
Gay volunteers with the Augusta Transplant Advocacy Group and works part-time for the Georgia Transplant Foundation in Atlanta as a mentor project director.
A few years ago, she designed a pin in her donor's memory. On the top it says, "His gift gave me life" and on the bottom, it says "Sherrell 08-03-02."
She decided to share her "aha moment" in a video during the Aha Moment Tour stop in Augusta this summer. The video is now among 25 finalists and has a possibility of being featured in an Aha Moment commercial in the spring.
The commercials, sponsored by Mutual of Omaha, aim to highlight moments in people's lives that made a lasting impact on them. The 10 videos with the most votes will be featured in Aha Moment commercials in the spring.
Gay hopes her video will encourage others to become donors.
"I hope this will help spread the message of how making the decision to be a donor and discussing it with your family can positively impact others," she said.