Joe Young Man Celebrates Life After Lung Transplant

“I wasn’t granted two healthy lungs of my own. I want people with CF to know that there is hope – that life goes on."

Two years ago, 24-year-old Joe was tethered to an oxygen tank and fighting cystic fibrosis (CF) for every breath. This year, he walked in two of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides events to benefit cystic fibrosis research.

Since receiving a lung transplant in June 2011 at the our Lung Center, Joe has been working out at the gym and playing volleyball and basketball with friends. No longer relegated to the sidelines, he is reaching new levels of strength and endurance.

Joe is using his new physical powers to help others with CF. “I wasn’t granted two healthy lungs of my own. I want people with CF to know that there is hope – that life goes on,” he said. “The walk is a chance for others to understand the effects of CF and to help.”

As a member of the Volunteer Club at the County College of Morris, Joe suggested that he and fellow club members consider participating in Great Strides. The group immediately formed the Breathe for Joe team that walked in his honor in Succasunna/Roxbury. The following weekend, Joe joined the Lung Center’sLiving Lungs team of physicians, nurses, staff and other lung transplant recipients who walked at Great Strides in Paramus.

“As funny as this might sound, I am proud of my CF,” said Joe. “It made me who I am. I think it’s the reason I am close to my family and that I value every moment.”

Helping others has been a theme in Joe’s life. Last year, he participated in a walk to fight breast cancer and during his difficult wait for a lung transplant, he decided that one thing he could do for others was grow his hair for Locks of Love.

Joe believes that life does not offer any guarantees. Even after his double lung transplant, he prefers to live in the present. For now, the farthest he wants to look ahead is the World Cup event that will be held in Brazil. A big soccer fan with family in that country, he is planning to attend several of the international soccer matches. This is a rare instance in which Joe will be happy to be sitting on the sidelines.