My story begins with my husband, Keith. He was diagnosed with COPD in 2011 and only a short time was then on oxygen 24/7. We met in Pulmonary Rehab, as he was a client and I was a respiratory therapist. He did not have any family and needed help with getting to doctor appointments and the grocery store. After spending time together, we realized there was a special bond between us. in 2017 he had his first double lung transplant and we were married the following year on the same day as his lung transplant to honor his donor. After two years, he went into rejection and received another double lung transplant in Sept of 2019. He was my hero, he taught me to persevere through hardship and diversity. He always faced the challenges of having COPD and being a lung transplant patient head on and was always smiling and positive through out the process. Unfortunately he passed away two months after the second transplant due to complications of diabetes that was induced due to the anti-rejection meds and steroids.
He has always supported any thing to do with lung health, was a speaker at one of the lung force conferences, as he was asked to sit on a panel to give the patients experience. He was an advocate for lung health and encouraged others to stop smoking and be aware of environmental conditions that created to lung disease. Smoking and work related exposures to dust, chemicals and others were the main cause of his COPD.