Man Survives Terminal Lung Disease Diagnosis; Climbs Cincinnati Tower with New Set of Lungs
(January 15, 2020) - CINCINNATI, Ohio
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One week, Cincinnati man Scot Ashton was in the gym working out, and just two weeks later, he was in the intensive care unit of the hospital, where the doctors were preparing his family for his possible death. On February 9, after a life-saving double lung transplant, Ashton will climb the tallest building in the city at the Fight For Air Climb at Carew Tower.
In 2017, Ashton was a healthy man who worked out on a regular basis. He went on a trip to the Bahamas, but when he returned, he developed a persistent cough. After several months with the cough, he visited a local urgent care. Doctors diagnosed him with walking pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics.
A week later, Ashton still wasn’t feeling well, so he decided to go to the hospital. His oxygen levels were so low that they admitted him and a CT scan revealed most of his lungs were scarred with fibrosis. When the doctors did a bronchoscopy, Ashton’s lung collapsed, and he went into cardiac arrest. The doctors diagnosed him with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. A diagnosis of IPF is for the most part, a death sentence since there is no cure. Surprisingly, it kills as many people as Breast Cancer in the U.S. each year.
“They essentially said, ‘you are going to die.’ There was no cure and my lung capacity was decreasing rapidly,” said Ashton. “They told my wife the chances were that I wasn’t going to make it.”
Doctors transferred Ashton to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center via helicopter for more comprehensive care. He was placed on life support and added to the lung transplant list, which was his only hope for survival. Within 12 hours of being on the list, on March 5, 2018, Ashton received a double lung transplant.
Once he awoke from the surgery, Ashton was determined to get out of the hospital. He doubled up on his rehabilitation to speed up recovery. By May, just two months after his critical illness and life-saving double lung transplant, he was back at work.
“I am thankful to my family and friends. You would not believe the support that I got. I had visitors all the time who drove from Cincinnati,” he said. “It is so important to have a support structure. The medical care was wonderful, but family and prayer are the most powerful things to get you through a medical trauma.”
After his incredible recovery, Ashton began looking for ways to give back and educate others about lung disease. He discovered the work of the American Lung Association and signed up for the Fight For Air Climb on February 9 in Cincinnati.
“I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t have lived through this, but I did and want to give back,” he said. “The American Lung Association does more for research than any other organization out there for lung issues. After what happened to me, I am truly blessed, I will do whatever I can to help.”
The Fight For Air Climb invites individuals, families, groups of friends, corporate teams and first responders to race up the stairs of Carew Tower, a total of 45 floors, 804 steps. The event raises awareness for lung disease, raises money for life-saving research, and funds critical local programing like educational programs to help local children manage their asthma and free programs to help locals quit smoking.
To learn more about the Fight For Air Climb at Carew Tower, happening on February 9, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Cincinnati.
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.
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