Forever Grateful

Ed Aubitz

Transplant Recipient, Minnesota

  • Lungs, October 17, 2005, University of Minnesota Health Transplant Services
  • Kidney, March 20, 2012, University of Minnesota Health Transplant Services

These are Ed’s words from his presentations he would give to High School Students, Medical Personnel, or anyone willing to listen…

Ed was an athletic, family-oriented individual - tennis, golf, biking, skiing, coaching soccer & basketball. He relished life.

“In my case I had first indications of a problem when on a helicopter ski trip with my older son to Park City Utah in 2000. I was having trouble breathing at higher altitudes (over 10,000 feet) . I was a bit surprised as my son and I had been working out 2-3 times a week to ‘get into shape’ for the skiing. I chalked it up to the ‘just getting older’ stage of life which all us transplant folks do. I was able to ski the 4 days we were there but not as well as I hoped\planned. I was also extremely lucky to not have a medical emergency as I had the symptoms of what is called a pulmonary embolism.

After we got back to The Cities I went to my doctor (but not for 3 months!, guys don’t do doctors well!) and he sent me to a heart specialist who didn’t find anything wrong with my heart. He then referred me to a lung specialist (pulmonologist). That doctor put me through a few tests and came to the conclusion that I had developed ‘exercise induced asthma’. I was treated for that condition for a year with periodic checks. When things didn’t improve the doctor had me put into the hospital to have what is called an ‘open lung biopsy’. In that procedure they put you to sleep and go in and take a small sample of one of your lungs. They then examine it under a microscope and made the diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

Luckily that doctor realized this was serious and something that needed to be treated properly and referred me to the U of M Lung Transplant program, one of the premier programs in the US. From that point on I saw a pulmonologist at the U who, coincidentally, was also doing research in IPF. I saw him from October 2001 until I was transplanted in October of 2005. After recovery from the surgery which took about a year, I have been able to do just about anything I want, slower but I am able to do it! The transplant allowed me to see the birth of my 6th grandchild, to travel, enjoy family times and to speak to groups on behalf of LifeSource, the organization that pairs up donors and recipients. I talk about signing up as an organ donor to everyone and anyone.”

On March 20, 2012, Sandy’s cousin, Judith, donated one of her kidneys to Ed. Another amazing gift of life! He continued to travel and participate in family life until he passed on January 14, 2013.

We are eternally grateful for Ed's bonus years, Sandy and family