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Hospital President Kathy Medeiros shares her personal story.
To Dream Again of Life
Katherine Medeiros' world was full of dreams the day her son Michael was born, the dreams every mother has for her newborn child. But before that day was over, she was jolted into a chilling reality.
Michael had cystic fibrosis.
The dream of a full, happy life for Michael turned into a difficult and daily effort just to help him survive.
Cystic fibrosis is an unforgiving, chronic disease traced to a defective gene. It causes production of thick mucus that clogs the lungs, obstructs the pancreas, and interferes with normal food absorption. Patients are subject to symptoms that make living difficult and painful at the least, and ultimately to deadly lung infections.
As recently as the 1950s, a child born this way was not expected to live long enough to attend elementary school. With medical advances, the outlook now is that someone with cystic fibrosis might live into his forties or even longer.
But by the time Michael was 24, it seemed apparent that his life would be a much shorter struggle. His lungs were down to 20 percent capacity when an organization called Donate Life helped Michael achieve a new life expectancy, in the form of a bilateral lung transplant.
"We were terrified, but hopeful," Katherine said of the transplant. Now, two years later, she said, "We can dream again for his future."
After the surgery, Michael progressed from walking with an oxygen tank to being able to run, and go on hikes. His new lungs are functioning at 100 percent capacity, and he is "doing things we all take for granted - looking after his home and family," Katherine said.
Now Michael has turned to his own dreams of working full time, completing his education, and enjoying a rich and loving life with his wife Lyndsay.
"We were certain that Michael was at the end of his life," Katherine said. "We feared that every phone call might bring terrible news. Now, everything is lighter. We are so grateful."