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'I looked death in the eyes and didn't like what I saw so I came back': Double lung transplant patient running the New York marathon

In September, he was diagnosed IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) a rare and incurable lung condition.

David Crosby
David Crosby

DAVID CROSBY WAS devastated when he was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease.

In August 2015, just weeks after his 40th birthday, David got a persistent cough that did not respond to antibiotics.

In September, he was diagnosed IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), a rare and incurable lung condition.

The Cavan father of three and his family were very upset by the news.

“To say we were devastated would be putting it mildly,” David said in a speech during organ donor awareness week earlier this year. “It was a day that my family and I will never forget.”

Four months later, David’s condition had deteriorated significantly. He was put on oxygen 24 hours-a-day and put on the list for a double lung transplant.

David was on the donor list just three days when a suitable match was found, but unfortunately the lungs weren’t viable.

Soon after, another pair of lungs was found and David had the operation.

That operation was a success and David began on the road the recovery.

David said he has always been driven and active. A keen fan of the GAA, he had made it to the All-Ireland final with the Meath minor team in 1993.

He said the recovery was difficult, but David never lost sight of his goal.

“Look, I’m a driven and focused person – whatever the nurse and doctor told me to do I did it,” he said.

I had looked death in eyes and I didn’t like what I saw so I came back. I said I’d do what they tell me to do.

David began taking walks to get his strength back up. As the months progressed, he decided to undertake a number of challenges in honour and memory of his donor and to help him recover.

He started by completing a five mile run in November, just eight months after his transplant. Later he did a 10km run in March of this year, followed by the Rock N’ Roll half marathon in Dublin in August.

David has been working up towards tomorrow – when he will compete in the New York City Marathon.

The New York City Marathon 

“Somebody gave me the ultimate [with the donation] and I guess the ultimate challenge is the the marathon, so that’s why I’m doing it,” he said.

David is being joined by his wife Katie, his mother and 11 others.

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They are running in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, and have raised over €50,000 already.

While David himself didn’t suffer from CF, but the rarer IPF – he said all the proceeds will go to the lung transplant section of the charity.

David feels organ donation is a vitally important thing, and while he has never met or will never meet his donor or their family, he feels indebted to this stranger for giving him a second lease of life.

“The donor and their family were going through what had to be a hard and difficult time and yet they found the strength to help others,” David said in his organ donor awareness speech earlier this year.

“I think about them every day, in things I do and think and say.

They inspired me to push on, concentrate on important things which for me are my family and to try and give back somehow to all the people who helped me through this challenging time.

You can visit  www.odti.ie to find out more about organ donation in Ireland

Read: Harris wants to bring in opt-out organ donation system next year

Read: ‘A woman has our daughter’s lungs and four boys have the rest of her organs’

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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