7 Transplant Warriors Share Their Victories
In many cases, those who receive an organ transplant are threatened of losing their life. They are given a second chance at living after their transplantation, a gift they aren’t positive they’ll obtain. These patients are grateful for this second chance, and accomplish more than they could have imagined before their surgery.
After receiving an LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) to temporarily support her heart, Glenda Grady knew she was on a time constraint with her life. Each time she went into the clinic to check in with her doctors, she would ask when the day would be for her to start bowling again. “She said, ‘Will I be able to go bowling again?’” recalled Louis B. Louis, MD, chief of cardiac surgery at UC Medical Center. “I said, ‘Well, not for a certain amount of time, but we anticipate you’re going to be doing it soon.’ And every time she would come back to clinic she’d say, ‘Can I go now? Can I go now? Can I go now?’” The call finally came that a heart was ready for Grady at UC Health. Now she’s on no time constraint and lighting up the lanes every chance she gets.
E. Steve Woodle, MD, transplant surgeon and director of solid organ transplantation for UC Health, received a liver transplant himself by fellow UC Health physicians in 2003. Now, 14 years later, he has continued to practice organ transplantation and shows each and every one of his patients care and compassion. He also works on increasing organ donation by telling his story of receiving his very own gift of life.
“By publicly sharing my experience, I hope to increase organ donation awareness. Through LifeCenter, the organ procurement organization here in Cincinnati, I hope to get the word out to the public about the importance of organ donation,” says Woodle.
Brian Martin received a liver transplant in September 2016 after suffering from a liver disease for 2 long years. He was so grateful and full of life after his transplantation, he decided he would train to run Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon in just seven months. With members of his medical care team by his side, Martin completed the Flying Pig 10K in May 2017, saying, “I feel alive again and am looking forward to so much. My kids growing up and my wife and I going on trips with friends and looking to volunteer. Plans … that is the difference, we make plans now. So amazing!”
David Waits received a heart transplant in 2016 following treatment for a massive heart attack he suffered in 2014. Now, he is an active advocate for organ donation and spreads the word as much as he can. As published on LifeCenter’s website, Waits writes, “Today I am home and doing wonderfully. I encourage everyone to become an organ and tissue donor. You might be in the same situation one day that my family was put in. Your family member might need a heart, and you hope and pray that there is another family out there that has given a wonderful gift so someone else can go on living even though they lost a loved one.”
Jim Orr was diagnosed with an untreatable terminal cancer in his liver, with the outlook of 6-9 months longer to live. After traveling to different doctors around the United States for different treatments, Orr would ultimately need a liver transplant. He was in his home in Cincinnati when he received the call from UC Health that they received the perfect liver match. Now, grateful to be alive and well, Orr and his wife, Cathy, are sharing their story of hope and perseverance in an effort to help educate others and to encourage all of us to make ourselves available as organ donors.
David Weber wanted to make the most of his life after receiving two transplants from UC Health. “I just want to go out and do and see as much as possible while I’m feeling well,” says Weber. “The time we have today is not guaranteed tomorrow.” Weber now serves as president of UC Medical Center’s Auxiliary, a 60-year-old volunteer organization working in support of patients and families to fund equipment purchases and programmatic efforts across the hospital.
Idris Gray has survived an amputation, a pulmonary embolism, partial blindness and a kidney transplant. He is an advocate for healthy living, especially healthy living for people in Avondale. Gray says, “as a resident of Avondale, and I see this on a daily basis, I go to the corner stores, I go to Family Dollar and I see the condition that the neighbors are in … It’s a food desert. It has one of the highest mortality rates and one of the lowest life expectancy rates. We need to change that so that’s why I’m taking a proactive approach to reach the kids of Avondale as well as many of the adults that don’t know either.”
Now We Join in Celebration
As we celebrate 50 years of providing excellence in transplantation, breakthrough treatments and compassionate coordination of care to the region, we invite you to join us in a 50-day countdown to the anniversary of the first surgery that launched Cincinnati’s most comprehensive transplant program.
For more information about UC Health transplant services, please visit uchealth.com/transplant.