Keith B, Double Lung Recipient, with his family

In 1997, my journey began. At the age of 26, I was recently married to my wife, Lynn, and diagnosed with Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. Although diagnosed quickly, the disease was aggressive. In the short time between the first symptoms and the diagnosis, my lung capacity had dropped to about half of what is normal. Thanks to various treatments, things seemed to stabilize or at least progress very slowly. Although over the years I had to give up some of the activities I enjoyed such as mountain biking, skiing and golfing, I was still enjoying life tremendously. Our daughter Katie was born in November 2002. Life was good and I had forgotten the dangers of Scleroderma. My lung disease remained stable until 2006. When I went on oxygen in 2006, my wife and I began to research, discuss, and pray about lung transplantation. We were led to this decision by the impact the damage to my lungs was having on my quality of life. Then in 2007 I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). For the first time fighting these diseases, my spirit was broken. This diagnosis was the push we needed to begin the lung transplant evaluation process. The day after I was listed, we had a routine clinic visit scheduled. It was during this clinic visit that I learned that the doctors might have a set of lungs for me by the end of the day. I received the gift of new lungs as hoped, that day. I was discharged on Christmas Eve. It was so great to be home with my family after a long recovery. I am thankful for my new chance at life and spend much of my time doing volunteer work. I am a volunteer with the Rhode Island Organ Donor Awareness Coalition, the New England Organ Bank, and the Rhode Island Blood Center. I have made presentations to various organizations encouraging and supporting organ and blood donation. I would not be alive today without my organ donor and a few blood donors. I have regained my strength, been exercising, and am really enjoying life. I have gone bike riding, hiking, kayaking, and fishing. I have been to amusement parks and on a few vacations. It is so exciting to get to run, play, and swim with Katie. I couldn’t have made it this far without Lynn and Katie. Now I work on creating great memories with them. I am thankful to my donor, Brent, and his family. In their time of loss, they made the decision to donate Brent’s organs to help others. I hope that others make the decision to donate life so those on the waiting lists can be as lucky as me. I am hope for anyone with waiting for a second chance at living a full life. You can be hope too by registering to be an organ and tissue donor at www.donatelifenewengland.org.