I could dance and play with my children again."
Chris, double lung recipient
In 1983, at the age of 13, Chris was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, a disease that affected his spleen and weakened his immune system. Throughout his adolescence and twenties, Chris was able to manage the disease and remain otherwise healthy. However, by the time Chris reached his early thirties, his health began to decline. In a two- and-a-half year period, Chris developed pneumonia seven times and discovered Sarcoidosis had entered his lungs.
With just 36 percent lung capacity, Chris went to the Cleveland Clinic in December 2005, where doctors told him he was a candidate for a double lung transplant. Chris' condition was so severe he was given oxygen 24 hours a day and was placed high on the transplant list. Chris had to quit his job, but kept himself busy doing light exercises and staying at home to watch his daughters.
Chris and his family received a call from the Cleveland Clinic on February 16, 2009, informing them of a match three years after Chris was placed on the transplant list. Taken aback by the call and overwrought with emotion, Chris was not able to say what he always planned to say to the transplant coordinator.
Chris needed two surgeries because doctors found a blood clot on the first pair of lungs he received. His second surgery was successful, and the transplant doctors later told Chris that his lungs were the worst they had ever seen. Doctors said Chris' lungs were in such terrible shape, had he not received the surgery, he would have only had two more months to live.
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After receiving his transplant, Chris felt a renewed sense of energy and was walking, talking and breathing on his own again.
"I was alive and functioning thanks to my donor and hero who gave me a gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life," says Chris. "I could dance and play with my children again. " Today, Chris has gained a new vigor for life. Each day he thanks his donor and strives to make something of himself in order to make his donor and his three daughters proud.