A Valentine’s Day Gift – Karon Ucci
My name is Karon Ucci, am married with three children (all married) and have 5 grandchildren.

At 53 years old, I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a condition which results in progressive scaring of the lung tissue. I was rather shocked in finding this out because up to that point I had enjoyed a normal and active life style with my family and had taken good care of myself nutritionally, physically and emotionally.

Because there was no cure for this affliction, I was informed that as my condition deteriorated, my only option would be a lung transplant. Five years after the initial diagnosis, I was put on the Toronto General lung transplant list. My lung capacity declined such that I required constant oxygen assistance.

After eight months I was bed-ridden and it was becoming apparent that time was running out.

On February 14, 2007 I received the call that I will never forget and 3:00 pm I underwent an 8 hour double lung transplant operation. Due to unusual complications, my recovery period took longer than normal (usually less than one month), and unfortunately extended to four months, including rehab.

Throughout this ordeal I have learned or come to realize several key things, namely:

  • The critical importance of increasing the public awareness and committment to organ donation.
  • The importance of close networking with others in similar circumstances both before and after surgery.
  • The dramatic influence of the Toronto General Transplant program and staff professionals worldwide.
  • The need for greater exposure and support for non-profit transplant organizations such as the Toronto Lung Transplant Civitan Club.

At present, 3 years post surgery, I am doing very well and have resumed a reasonably normal life. I regularly think about the selfless gesture my donor made that allowed me to receive my gift-of-life.

Karon Ucci
Double Lung Transplant, February 14, 2007
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