UAB Medicine News

 
Back

More Transplant Patient Stories

For over five decades, UAB’s transplant program has touched the lives of more than 14,000 people. Don’t simply take our word for it, though. Below, read the stories of some of our patients who have received the gift of life that transplantation represents.

Gifts of life: Two families share joy and pain after rare double-lung and heart transplant

Dovie Luckado struggles to find the words to explain her unbridled joy and her undeniable pain. The joy comes from watching her 14-year-old daughter, Angelynn, no longer lying in a hospital bed, no longer struggling to breathe, no longer clinging to life. Angelynn is walking. 

UAB surgeons perform state’s first adult split-liver transplants

As far back as 2009, Deborah Lethgo was told she was going to need a liver transplant at some point in her life in order to survive. Earlier this year, Eloise Jenkins found out she would need a new liver in order to live. Their paths crossed July 31 when the 48-year-old Lethgo and the 58-year-old Jenkins became the first adults to receive transplants from a single donor liver at UAB Hospital.

Kidney Chain 'Bridge Donor' Author Hopes to Inspire Others Through Personal Story

It took four long years for Kelly Berwager to build up enough confidence to share her story of kidney donation, but now she hopes her personal experiences will encourage others to consider giving the gift of life through her new book, “Bridge Donor: The Journey of a Living Organ Donor.”....

Heart Transplant Survivor Thankful to Celebrate Second New Birthday

Hayden, Ala., resident George “Mac” McAllister says he’s a 55-year-old kid. But there was a time just two years ago when he wasn’t sure how much longer being a big kid would be possible. Today, thanks in part to UAB Medicine’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI), McAllister is celebrating his second new birthday – the anniversary of his heart transplant...

Teen Heart Transplant Patient Thanks UAB Medicine for New Future

At just 18 years old, Megan Gagliardi was told that she might die from a rare genetic heart condition. Now, thanks in part to UAB Medicine’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI), she is celebrating her recent engagement and an important six-year anniversary...

Patient Turns to Social Media to Find Living Kidney Donor 

At 33 years old, Amanda Keller is looking forward to celebrating a first birthday of sorts, thanks to her kidney transplant at UAB Medicine’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI) last year...

Living Kidney Donor and Recipient Share Special Bond

"For me, donating a kidney to Shaun gave me someone I consider to be a family member," says Shaun's donor, Leslie. "We'll have a relationship that's unique and loving and filled with grace for the rest of our lives, which thanks to UAB Medicine will be a really long time..."

Heart Transplant Recipient’s Life Saved Through Girl’s Generous Gift

Starting with a life-threatening diagnosis, to the often long wait for a donor match, to the extensive recovery process, the journey for transplant recipients can be incredibly challenging, and it takes a lot of heart. That’s why 60-year-old Birmingham native Sherron Simmons says she’s thankful that she has had two of them thanks to her heart transplant at UAB Medicine’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI)...

Lung Transplant Gives Patient a New Lease on Life

Fort Walton Beach, Fla., resident Brad Martin is thankful to be able to blow out the candles on his birthday cake, something he couldn’t do just two years ago. He says UAB Medicine breathed new life into him with a lung transplant performed by the Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI) in 2015...

Liver Transplant Recipient Honors Donor Family by Living Life for Two

At age 48, Lyric Brogden of Pelham, Ala., is celebrating her 22nd birthday – her liver’s birthday that is. Brogden received a liver from UAB Medicine’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI) in 1995. Brogden was diagnosed earlier that same year with hepatic vein thrombosis, a vein blockage in the liver caused by a blood clot. Her condition was nearly fatal, as two of the three veins that drain blood from her liver were completely blocked...

Pancreas-Kidney Transplant Helps UAB Employee Win Lifelong Battle with Diabetes

Jan Jones is one of a growing number of people who have had a simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplant, a surgery that commonly saves lives or greatly improves them. In Jones's case, it was both, so much so that she regards the success of her procedure as miraculous...

Donation Made the Difference for Kidney-Pancreas Transplant Patient

Rhonda Lusco’s journey to better health has been 27 years in the making. At 28 years old, the Birmingham native was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during her second pregnancy. Now, at age 55, Lusco says she never realized that the complications from her diabetes would lead to another life-threatening diagnosis, challenging surgeries, and what she calls “a tragedy that led to something so beautiful...”

Friend’s Selfless Decision Saves Life: Tess and Ann’s Story

What would you do for a friend? Most of us say we’d do anything for those that matter most to us, but actually doing so is another thing entirely. Ann Rayburn and Tess Bourge have been friends for years. Rayburn says Bourge was the first person she met when she moved to Birmingham. So when Bourge’s health started to deteriorate before her 60th birthday, she knew she’d need her friend’s support to get through it. What she didn’t realize was that Rayburn would be there for much more than just emotional support; Rayburn gave her a second chance at life...

A Different Kind of Fight: The Journey through Transplant Surgery

Greg Hasberry certainly could be described as strong. In his 20s, he was ranked in the top 10 nationally among competitive power lifters. But it was a different kind of strength that helped him get through one of the hardest fights he’s experienced – a fight for his life...

Woman Donates Kidney to Save Granddaughter's Life

Life has not been easy for 2-year-old Wryn Graydon of Moody, Alabama. She was born July 6, 2015, a seemingly healthy 7-pound, 10-ounce girl whom mom, Haley Graydon, had carried full term with no health issues for either her or her baby. The only abnormality — which may have been a clue of the difficulties to come — was that Haley had an abnormally large placenta and measured far ahead of schedule halfway through the pregnancy...

Two Alabamians Push UAB Hospital Past Milestone of 10,000 Kidney Transplants

Just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, Amy Cox said her husband, Michael, asked her what is a fairly common question from a spouse this time of year — what would you like for Christmas? “I told Michael that I just wanted him to live,” Amy said. “I just wanted him to live...”

World Record Kidney Chain Extends with Inspired Organ Donors

Tyler Williamson went to TEDx Birmingham’s 2017 event in March expecting to be inspired and to network and make new connections with fellow attendees. What the 27-year-old did not anticipate was that inspiration would lead him to volunteer to become a living kidney donor just seven months later... 

The Many Faces of a Caregiver

As a kid growing up in Guntersville, Ala., I remember family members taking care of other family members when they were sick. I remember my stay-at-home mother taking care of my daddy when he was sick with cancer. My parents were older. I always pictured a caregiver as someone taking care of an elderly person. In 2016, I realized that was not the case...

Post-Transplant Coordinators Help Patients Manage Life After Surgery

Following a successful organ transplant, the main goal for most patients is to resume a normal lifestyle as soon as possible. In many cases, though, it’s a tremendous adjustment with significant demands – especially during the first couple of years after transplant...