Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sweet Charity

When I think of lung transplant recipients, there are a few words that always come to mind. Words like strong, patient, courageous, determined, resilient, and, yes, even lucky. We may come from diverse backgrounds, we may have different diseases and look as different as night and day, we may not share a political persuasion or a continent or even the same general philosophy of life, but all of us have been through something fairly close to hell and back, and all of us have managed to survive. When I look at my fellow lung transplantees, I see a group of individuals who form a true community of souls (both our own and those of our donors) -- each of us together strong, and each of us individually exceptional in our own right. Or, to put it another way, I stand forever in awe of lung transplantees, of donors, of those waiting for transplants, of our families and our doctors, and of anyone living with disease. I'm pretty sure I have a seriously bad case of Chronic Admiration Syndrome for you guys, and I truly hope it's contagious.

So you can imagine my super excited reaction when, a few weeks ago, I received an email from an amazing woman, fellow Colorado native, and (two time) lung transplantee. Oh, and did I also mention FAMOUS OPERA SINGER?! Because yeah, she's got that box checked off too. Talk about putting your new lungs to some seriously good use. 

Meet Charity Tillemann-Dick, beautiful people, who has been wonderful enough to share her TED talk about lung transplant (times two) and her own powerful "Discourses from The Undead." This woman (a survivor of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) has long been one of my transplant idols, and I'm delighted to welcome her as a guest blogger here on MLB. 

Without further ado, Charity, take it away. And thank you, sincerely, for an engaging insight into life and lung transplant. And everything in between.

Transplant is one crazy ball of wax and when I first was facing one, I was SO grateful for the bloggers like Piper who take this issue, head on. I blog too, but I do it with four of my (very healthy) sisters. But even those of us who aren't tx blogstars like Piper can talk with our friends and family about organ donation. We can share our status on facebook. We can ask friends if they're signed up as donors. More importantly, I think we can shift the nature of the conversation on this issue. While 90% of Americans say they support organ donation, fewer than 40% are actually registered as donors. We need to look at what's actually causing the disconnect. I talked about this very topic last fall. 

So let's talk about it. Pass this video on via facebook, twitter and your blogs. Talk about this with friends and family. Mortality is an essential part of life. Let's make sure organ donation is part of it too.

Lots of love!  CharityTD 


  1. Wow! Just...wow! Thank you for sharing this remarkable testimony by a true hero. Charity you are amazing.

    Jenny (PH patient, Texas)

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I've been following Charity since I saw her on TV (I don't remember which show) and I was so impressed. I wondered what her condition was that required a transplant. She's amazing.

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