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Ms. Joanne Schum received a double lung transplant at at the UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center, and has since compiled hundreds of amazing stories of patients worldwide whose lives have been changed by lung transplantation. Many of these patients were under the care of our wonderful physicians and staff at the UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center, and are happy to share their stories on our site.

UNC CF Center Patient Stories

Journey of Encouragement by Sherri Bradley

[Eric] is learning to play the tuba in the school band. He calls it, ‘The Beast’, and puts 100% effort into his practice sessions. There’s no getting winded, tired, or having to stop because he needs to cough. He is able to do anything and everything like other nine-year-old boys…” read Eric Bradley’s full story

Got Lungs… Got Busy by Joanne Schum

Is this for real? Am I dreaming? Is this me? How could someone who was tethered to oxygen, required three hours a day of chest physiotherapy (pounding on my chest) and two hours a day of nebulizing able to do what was on my calendar and even think they could accomplish it?… How could this be possible? It’s possible and yes it’s a miracle… The changes, opportunities and energy my transplant gave me were not realized or even dreamed of by myself pre transplant…” read Joanne Schum’s full story

The Possibility of the Idea by English Clemmons

“What’s it like to breathe?” … I have finally found the best way to answer this question. The feeling is like when you dive down deep in the water holding your breath, and then you attemt to shoot back up to the surface, making it just in time, and you inhale so vigorously and deeply that you can feel the air hit the bottom of your lungs; it’s one of the most invigorating feelings in the world.” read English Clemmings’s full story

The Most Important Birthday by Howell Graham

“Since then, my life is more than I could have ever dreamed it would be… I am grateful for Dr. Yankaskas for keeping me afloat… I am grateful to Dr. Egan for his amazing skills in an equally amazing surgery… They say I am one of the longest surviving double lung transplant recipients in the world… it’s amazing!” read Howell Graham’s full story


Read More

You can read many more stories like these in “Taking Flight: Inspirational Stories of Lung Transplantation” by Joanne Schum, and in her second edition “Taking Flight: Inspirational Stories of Lung Transplantation, More Journeys.”

Here’s what readers are saying:

  • “This is a wonderful book full of very moving and inspirational stories. Of course I am biased, since my transplant story titled “Wings of Hope”, is included. I highly recommend it to everyone in general, but especially to anyone who is waiting for a transplant or is being evaluated for one. When I myself was listed for a transplant I read the authors first edition of this book….it gave me so much hope and inspired me to keep fighting, to stay strong and to keep a positive attiude. I am now very honored and lucky to have my story included in this edition! Heart/Lungs June 1, 2007 @UCLA” -Imelda Vasquez
  • “Having lived with a lung transplant for almost 12 years, I enjoyed reading the stories included in this book. I may be a little biased as my story is one of them, but it was so neat to read about the accomplishments of other lung recipients post-transplant and the impact organ donation has had on their lives. Everyone had a different story to tell and I would have loved to have had a chance to read a book like this when I was considering a transplant. Unfortunately, there wasn’t even very much available on the Internet back in 1999. If you are considering a lung transplant, or are just curious about what recipients are able to do after receiving a new lung or lungs, you should check this book out.” -Judith L. Russell
  • If you, or someone you know, is in the process of waiting for a lung transplant, this book is a must read! It will truly help you keep your sanity during a very frightening time. The stories are honest, from the heart, real life experiences. I’ve re-read this book a couple of times and it still fills me with hope every time. -L.Core
  • This is a fabulous book. A very inspirational read for anyone considering a lung transplant. The stories are all from personal experieces of transplant survivors of all ages and from around the globe. I absolutely love this book and I still read it daily!!!!! -Vida Alma
  • I have an 18-year old son that is looking at a double lung transplant… The real life stories provided a lot of insight & inspiration from people that have been through this procedure. Great Book. -Thomas M. Bracey
  • “This book is a good follow up to the original compilation of stories by transplant patients or their families. Good glimpse on the life PRE and POST lung transplant. I would recommend it to people considering transplantation.” -P.Hunt


Tell Your Story

Whether or not you are a current or previous patient at the UNC CF Center, we would love to hear your story. Sharing your story encourages others who are going through the same struggles to be informed and strong, and inspires your healthcare providers to give their all in the fight against CF. To find out more, or to get plugged in to a support community, email Joanne, or connect on Facebook.


*No part of these stories may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.