Florida patient stories

  1. Brothers Bond Over Kidney Disease, Transplant

    Scott Berry is one of five children. But he and his youngest sibling, David, share a very unique bond — a kidney, to be exact. On April 12, 2016, David gave his older brother a second chance at life by donating one of his kidneys to Scott for a transplant.  A challenging diagnosis Fifteen years [...]

  2. Artist Back at the Drawing Board After A Stroke

    Shirley and Bob Gessner have weathered some tough times during their 56 years of marriage. But nothing could have prepared Shirley for the night of April 10, 2015, when she awoke at 3:30 a.m. to a thud — the sound of her husband falling out of bed. “I asked him what was the matter, but [...]

  3. Why I Walk: Alexandra Abreu-Figueroa

    Editor’s note: In this article, Alexandra Abreu-Figueroa, an intern in Public Affairs at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, shares her story and discusses why she participates in the First Coast Heart Walk, an annual event sponsored by Mayo Clinic. Growing up, I was always overweight. During my teenage years, in particular, I struggled — losing and gaining [...]

  4. After Severe Rotator Cuff Injuries, Stuart Baker Found Relief at Mayo Clinic

    For Stuart Baker, flying was life. After beginning his career as a flight attendant, Stuart eventually earned a pilot’s license and flew for a major airline. But by age 40, this native of Winchester, Virginia, had torn his right rotator cuff twice, grounding his ability to fly. It took seven years, three surgeries and extensive [...]

  5. Life Beyond A Heart Transplant is Vibrant and Full for Elmo Aquino

    Fifteen years ago, Elmo Aquino, a resident of Orange Park, Florida, was an avid runner. He’d competed in Jacksonville's Gate River Run, an annual 15-kilometer running event, several times. But one morning in the summer of 2001, his active lifestyle came to an abrupt end when suddenly, while on a treadmill, he found he couldn’t [...]

  6. Double Lung Transplant Recipient Beats Cystic Fibrosis to Become A Running and Fitness Enthusiast

    When Tammy Bolerjack was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 18, she found herself frequently in and out of hospitals for treatments to help her breathe. Running 5K races and half-marathons certainly wasn’t something she envisioned in her future. Little did she know then that eventually a double lung transplant at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus would [...]

  7. Mayo Clinic’s First Lung Transplant Recipient in Florida Makes Most of Every Moment for 15 Years and Counting

    When Richard Oppelt arrived at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in early 2001, his lung capacity was minimal – only 21 percent of what it should have been. A sandblaster for 24 years, Richard, from Melbourne, Florida, had developed silicosis, a lung disease caused by breathing in silica dust, which can damage the lining of the [...]

  8. Seamstress Moving and Sewing Again After Complex Spine Surgery for Scoliosis

    Growing up in Central Florida, Kimberly Kimmons was an active child. She loved swimming, biking and martial arts. But at age 12, Kim was diagnosed with scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine that most often occurs during a growth spurt before puberty. Unfortunately, Kim’s family didn’t have the resources to fully address her spinal [...]

  9. After Learning Flu-Like Symptoms Were Actually Thyroid Cancer, Mother Shares Advice to Help Save Others

    It was 2012, and Beth Spreitzer was busy with life. Mothering her fourth-grade daughter and taking care of a household left no time to get sick. However, after experiencing what she thought were too many common symptoms – fatigue, chills, fever – and not improving, Beth thought something else must be wrong. "In the past, [...]

  10. Unique Form of Genetic Testing Uncovers the Reason for Years of Mysterious Symptoms

    When she was a teenager, Sharon Mills started having excruciating pain after eating. Medical tests found abnormalities with her liver but no reason for the irregularities or pain. She continued to experience the troubling symptoms for decades. As an adult, Sharon moved to different parts of the country several times. With each move, she visited [...]

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