Transplant patient stories

  1. An upbeat attitude and a brisk tempo keep this musician playing

    Wain McFarlane knows how to work a problem. When hypertension caused Wain's kidneys to fail in 2006, he built dialysis into his busy schedule. And when, just months after receiving a kidney from his 26-year-old niece, Wain was diagnosed with liver cancer, he knew he and his Mayo Clinic team would deal with it, quickly. [...]

  2. Bruce Schwartau

    Grateful for his life and glad to help others

    When Bruce Schwartau was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver disease, he understood he'd eventually need a liver transplant. Until then, he didn't want his condition to change his life. For years, it didn't. Bruce continued his university course work, traveling to communities throughout southern Minnesota to teach. But as his disease progressed, [...]

  3. Heidi Ash

    Mayo Clinic's 185th Heart Transplant Patient and her "Chocolat"

    I wish I knew more ways to say, “Thank you”. I was given not just a second chance at life, but also a life with possibilities never imagined. Being born with congenital heart defects, my first open-heart surgery was performed when I was five-days-old. Six more heart surgeries followed before being tremendously fortunate to have [...]

  4. Dan Olson

    A heart transplant put him back in the race

    As a marathon runner and long-distance cyclist, Dan Olson thought his athletic lifestyle ensured a healthy body. But in 2002, at age 38, Dan was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle. "I couldn't believe it," he says. "I kept thinking, 'I'm in good shape. It can't really be that [...]

  5. Harmonica Helps Pulmonary and Lung-Transplant Patients Breath Easier

    After surviving two separate lung transplant procedures in 2005 and 2008, musician Larry Rawdon is sharing new ways of healing through music with other patients at Mayo Clinic in Florida. It was, after all, music that led him to Mayo Clinic and aided in his recovery after he was diagnosed in 2002 with idiopathic pulmonary [...]

  6. Liver transplant a rebirth for Wachira Loth

    Wachira Loth says his caregivers, colleagues and community helped him through the difficult days before his liver transplant in 1998. There was a time when Wachira Loth, an interpreter and licensed practical nurse for the Minnesota Department of Health, was afraid to look in the mirror. "I was scared of myself," he says of the [...]

  7. Surprise amyloidosis diagnosis leads to combined heart-liver transplant

    At the end of a routine physical in 2006, Dan Carey’s doctor asked if there was anything else he wanted to discuss. Dan exercised regularly and felt good. Except for one thing. “I get out of breath when I walk up stairs,” he told his doctor. A chest X-ray revealed healthy lungs but an enlarged [...]

  8. Liver transplant gives man a new lease on life

    Julie and Marshall Curtis credit a steady stream of miracles — and Mayo Clinic — with saving Marshall's life. A series of miracles. That's how Marshall Curtis describes the care he received at Mayo Clinic. Marshall came to Mayo after being diagnosed with cirrhosis, the result of a rare genetic disorder. He was gravely ill, [...]

  9. Ann and Jerry Beasley

    Blood type doesn't stand in the way of donating a kidney to her husband

    Despite a "lifelong aversion to needles and anything medical," Ann Beasley was eager to donate a kidney when she learned her husband, Jerry, needed a kidney transplant. Then she learned their blood types didn't match, and further, that Jerry's type O blood would limit available candidates. Anxious about their options, the couple went to Mayo [...]

  10. Mia Welch

    Heart transplant puts Mia Welch back in the dance

    Mia Welch danced to a video game while at Mayo Clinic Hospital awaiting a transplant. For months, a constant beat filled Mia Welch's room at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona. But it didn't come from a radio or MP3 player. It was the beat of an artificial heart that was keeping Mia alive. Mia's troubles [...]

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