Local transplant patients take the national stage - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local transplant patients take the national stage

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A Waterville man was near death a few years ago but the generosity of another saved his life and because of that life saving gift he is healthy enough to compete at the Transplant Games of America in Houston later this week.

It took more than three years for chris may to get his double lung transplant and he says doctors told him he was weeks away from death but since the transplant he's enjoying every minute of his second chance. He's hoping to bring home the gold and get more people to give the gift of life.

When you see him playing with his children, it's hard to imagine Chris was near death just a few years ago. He was first diagnosed with sarcoidosis as a teen. It's an inflammatory disease that can affect any organ in the body but it's most commonly found in the lungs. It came back with a vengeance in his thirties, "I couldn't speak a sentence without taking a breath between each word. I couldn't play with my children. It was hard to do any normal, daily activity."

In 2005 doctors told him he needed a double lung transplant. It was more than three years before that happened. He got a call in the middle of the night to get to the Cleveland Clinic within hours for surgery, "I can remember the first breath and I can still feel the expansion of the lungs. It was an incredible feeling, it was like I received a new life."

That was in 2009. The very next year he was competing in the Transplant Games and in 2012 he brought home a medal, "Two years ago I won a silver medal in badminton, hopefully I can win a gold this time!"  But it's about much more than the medals. Chris hopes his story will help inspire others to donate their organs, "My donor gave me a chance to be with my children, my family and my friends. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my donor." 

Chris' donor was from Texas. He sent a letter to the donor's family inviting them to watch him compete in Houston . He competes in badminton, volleyball and darts. The games start this Friday and they are held every other year. In 2016 they will be in Cleveland. 

There are more than a half dozen other local athletes heading to the games. To learn more about becoming a donor click here.

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