After Years of Struggling to Breathe, Double Lung Transplant Gives Local Man the Ability to Climb
(January 23, 2019) -
For more information please contact:
Twelve years ago, local resident Aaron Loughran could barely make his bed in the morning or take a short walk to the kitchen without struggling to breathe. Now, after a double lung transplant, he will climb over 200 flights of stairs in the Fight For Air Climb at Oakbrook Terrace Tower on February 9.
Loughran was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease causing thickened mucus to form in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and causing long-term lung damage. During his childhood, he underwent hours of daily lung treatments to maintain his lungs, but by the time he was 12, his lung function began to decline.
“It was a struggle just to get through school,” said Loughran. “I was constantly tired and would arrive late or go home early. I was often sick for weeks at a time. Every day was a struggle.”
When he was 16, doctors discovered that one of his lungs collapsed. Unable to re-inflate it, he lived for several years with only one functioning lung. Despite his struggle to breathe, Aaron graduated high school, began college and worked part time. Then in 2007, his condition significantly worsened.
“Making the bed was an effort. Walking to the kitchen was an effort, even though it was only 15 feet away,” he said. “From December 2006 to June 2007, I was hermit because I didn’t have energy to do anything. I just couldn’t breathe.”
In June 2017, Loughran was admitted to the hospital for an infection. His condition was so bad, doctors moved him to the top of the transplant list and he received a double lung transplant on June 15, 2007.
“Recovery [after the transplant] was pretty easy compared to what I had been dealing with, because I could finally breathe,” he said.
Following the lung transplant, Loughran was able to go back to school. He received his bachelors and masters degrees, all while working full time. He heard about the Fight For Air Climb at Oakbrook Terrace Tower through a friend and decided to sign up. This year will be Loughran’s 5th year participating in the event, which includes a race up the 31 floors of Oakbrook Terrace Tower for a total of 680 steps to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease. His goal is to climb the tower seven times, for a total of 217 floors.
“I climb because not everyone is as lucky as I am. I now have healthy lungs to breathe with,” he said. “Ideally we would want to get rid of pulmonary disease and not even give breathing a second thought. I think about my breathing constantly. I think about it because I am grateful to be able to breathe.”
Registration for the 2019 Fight For Air Climb is currently open online or by calling 312-781-1100.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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.