Second Wind Lung Transplant Association

Members Stories

Learning from those who have gone before us is a valuable tool for acquiring an up close look at transplantation. Second Wind members and their families share their transplant stories so that we may learn from their life experiences.

We encourage you to share with us what you have learned as a recipient, a living donor or a donor family. Sharing your personal experiences about the organ donation and the transplant process not only helps you but helps others who are waiting.

Professionals from the transplant community are also encouraged to provide their unique perspectives.

Click on a name below to read their story.


Sandra Andersen

Hi, my name is Sandra Andersen aka “Chatterbox”. and I am now 64 years old.

andersen-sandraI would like to add to my member story about my second transplant. My old transplanted lung was going into rejection and I was back on oxygen. This time I was a lot sicker than the first time. Towards the end I had to be pushed around in a wheel chair and could only walk short distances. I normally weigh 115 lbs. and was down to 99.

My kidneys were failing, chronic renal failure, not quite on dialysis. I am told it was the high doses of Prograf. I was to have a portacath put into my chest so that I could receive certain medications to protect my new kidney. So, I had the IVNG (twice) and Rituxin therapy and I did have to have dialysis with the IVNG. I’m told that was discovered by Cedars-Sinai and UCLA and now it is widely being used before kidney transplants. READ MORE

Karen Couture

On December 15, 1991, I was hospitalized with my first lung collapse. Three weeks and three lung collapses later, I was diagnosed with Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare lung disease that affects only women. While in the hospital, doctors told me some people could live for 20 years with this disease — I figured it might take me that long just to learn how to pronounce it. Anyway, they said they were going to try hormone therapy first, and if that didn’t work, I’d be listed for a lung transplant. READ MORE

Paula Huffman

I have two new lungs and I affectionately have named them Ben and Curt. (Could it be that my surgeons for whom I will be eternally grateful were Dr. Benjamin Peeler and Dr. “Curt” Tribble?) My life is full now. I am rich with wonderful friends and a loving and supportive family. If I die today, it will all have been worth it just to experience being able to BREATHE!  READ MORE




Irene Overton

Everyone has a story to tell. This is mine! This bumpy and challenging journey I have gone through actually began in Jan. of ’96 when my Dad passed away somewhat unexpectedly…. It was a sad shock to our close family. My Mom was already showing signs of confusion when Dad passed away, and her doctor told us it was Alzheimer’s Disease. She wouldn’t (and probably shouldn’t) stay alone and she needed more help with most things. My two brothers, Woody and Marvin and myself (my sister, Nancy, lived away so was not able to physically help too much) did everything we could for her, including taking turns staying nights with her and making sure she had meals, taking her on errands, just keeping her company, etc. Even though it was stressful at times being a caregiver, and it put a strain on our own family lives, we wanted to help her so much. We were              glad we were able to be there for her and were frustrated that we couldn’t do. READ MORE


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Gary Bland, Director

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Melissa Burke, Director

Pat Libens, Director

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Renae Woods, Director

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