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Lung Transplant Patient Stories

Our patient stories profile those who have had lung transplants at UPMC. Although everyone’s care experience is unique, we hope that sharing these stories will help prospective patients and their families better understand these procedures and their potential impact on patients’ lives.

Here's how that care has had a positive impact in the lives of some of our patients.

Note: These patients' treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Alecia: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Image of Alecia.

After Alecia was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, she was determined to improve her health and live life to the fullest. She received a lung transplant at UPMC and is looking forward to more special moments and adventures with her family.

Read Alecia's story

Mr. Hsu: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Mr. Hsu

Mr. Hsu was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease characterized by scarring of the lungs with no known cause. He underwent a lung transplant at UPMC and is back to enjoying time with his family.

Read Hsu's story

Tammy Cook: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Tammy Cook: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Tammy was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Fearful and hesitant at first, Tammy knew that a lung transplant would be her only option. Today, she is thankful for her new lungs and thinks often of her donor a 30-year-old Purple Heart recipient and father of two.

Read Tammy Cook's story

Paul McGuinness: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Paul McGuinness

In 1988, Paul McGuinness became the second person at UPMC to receive a double lung transplant. More than 30 years later, he's enjoying life and giving hope to other lung transplant recipients.

Read Paul McGuinness's story

Richard Callender: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Richard Callender

Richard was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a serious disease that causes scarring or stiffening of the lungs and makes daily activities like walking, speaking, and eating difficult. Richard came to UPMC in 2009 and underwent a transplant evaluation.

Read Richard Callender's story

Steve Constable: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Steve Constable

In December of 2011, Steve Constable began to feel tired and short of breath. Diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), he thought he had less than three years to live. Since his lung transplant, Steve is doing well and enjoying time with his family.

Read Steve Constable's story

Lauren Costa: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Lauren Costa

As a baby, Lauren Costa was diagnosed with a life-threatening lung disease. When she learned that a lung transplant could save her life, she began searching for the best place to handle her case. Her search led her to the UPMC Lung Transplant Program.

Read Lauren Costa's story

Gary Cunningham: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Gary Cunningham

In spring of 2010, Gary Cunningham was cutting the grass for the first time of the season when he began experiencing shortness of ​breath and became fatigued. Gary is the first patient at UPMC to receive a "breathing lung" transplant through the Transmedics ® Organ Care System TM (OCS) Lung Machine.

Read Gary Cunningham's story

Clarence Damron: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Clarence Damron

During a 32-year career in the coal mines of West Virginia, Clarence developed black lung disease, and his quality of life was severely diminished. He thought he was out of options, until he found the lung transplant team at UPMC. Now, Clarence works to inspire others who are suffering to seek a transplant.

Read Clarence Damron's story

Bob Dolence: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Bob Dolence

In 2003, Bob was using supplemental oxygen to support his lungs. Today, with a new set of lungs, he is breathing just fine on his own.

Read Bob Dolence's story

Tammi Green: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Image of Tammi.

As a teenager, Tammi was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease characterized by progressive scarring of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. For her condition, she has received two lung transplants at UPMC. In fall 2023, Tammi celebrated her 30 year lung transplant anniversary.

Read Tammi Green's story

Jason Gregg: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Jason Gregg

In June 2008, Jason was told he had only two years to live.

Read Jason Gregg's story

Nancy Matthews: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Nancy Matthews

On December 10, 2008, Nancy received her double lung transplant at UPMC Presbyterian. Just two years later, she hiked in the mountains at Yellowstone National Park.

Read Nancy Matthews's story

Rebecca Poole: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Rebecca Poole

Living with cystic fibrosis left Rebecca Poole with a rollercoaster of challenges to overcome. After experiencing a dramatic decline in her health, Rebecca and her husband, Ray, made the journey to UPMC to receive a lung transplant that would save her life.

Read Rebecca Poole's story

Ronald Prescott: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Ronald Prescott

Ronald spent years trying to find a diagnosis and solution for his breathing problems. Finally, eight years after his symptoms began, UPMC gave him good news: a lung transplant that could give him back the healthy life he was missing.

Read Ronald Prescott's story

Jay Starr: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Jay Starr

At age 46, Jay, a cystic fibrosis patient, underwent lung transplant surgery in Seattle in 2008. In October of 2011, doctors in Seattle told Jay that he was in chronic rejection. After an evaluation at UPMC in Pittsburgh, Jay was placed on the lung transplant waiting list. In February of 2015, Jay underwent a second lung transplant and was cleared to return home in May.

Read Jay Starr's story

John Sullivan: Lung Transplant Ambassador

John Sullivan

On May 1, 1991, John had his first lung transplant at UPMC Presbyterian. He was 44 years old, and received a single right lung.

Read John Sullivan's story

Dennis Wiley: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Dennis Wiley

When Dennis learned he needed a lung transplant, he visited many hospitals. But they turned him away because he had scleroderma, an autoimmune condition. Then, he found UPMC, and got the transplant that led him back to an active lifestyle.

Read Dennis Wiley's story

Natalie Wasserman Kingston: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Learn more about lung transplant patient stories at UPMC.

Natalie Wasserman Kingston was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) shortly after she was born. The disease made daily life incredibly challenging for Natalie throughout her early adulthood. After receiving a successful lung transplant, she considers her care team at UPMC her heroes.

Read Natalie Kingston's story