Dan D., IL
I was first diagnosed with COPD in the late 1980's. The disease continued to progress robbing me of my ability to work. As my quality of life rapidly deteriorated, I soon became unable to function without round-the-clock oxygen therapy.
Four and a half months ago, I found myself in the hospital with end stage COPD. It was then that my doctor told me the words no one is ever prepared to hear—I had just two days left live. During those desperate hours, a miracle walked into my life. Thanks to the lifesaving gift of organ donation, I was given a new lease on life with a pair of new lungs that never leave me out of breath. I have not been able to breath with such ease since I was a teenager.
I don't take my gift for granted. My life literally depends upon having healthy air to breathe. When high ozone days compromise our air quality, like so many others with lung disease, I am forced indoors. Pollution makes me sick. Before my lung transplant, air pollution had the power to send me to my grave.
I'm fighting for air not just for myself but for everyone with lung disease. Everyone deserves the right to breathe healthy air. The efforts by some in Congress to take away our basic Clean Air Protections are a direct threat to the health of people like me.
I'm more fortunate than most to have received a new pair of lungs. That is why I know I must do everything in my power to protect this precious gift, because I have so much more time I want to spend with my grandkids.
I will do the utmost for the remainder of my life to aid in the fight for cleaner air. While there is still so much more that needs to be done, together we can realize create a future where air pollution is no longer a serious threat to health and life.
Thank you for reading my story. I am a grateful survivor.
First published: March 12, 2012
Sign up for the latest lung health news sent right to your inbox.
Join more than 500,000 people who receive research updates, inspiring stories, health information and more.