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Stories of hope

Kirk Menefee: Everyday is a gift

Kirk Menefee

My story is about hardships, faith, hope and miracles. I was a marathon runner, a long distance swimmer, and an exercise enthusiast for over 40 years until I was struck by the disease, IPF. In less than a year I went from being a man full of pride that could climb mountains to an invalid that could barely make it to the bathroom. My life was turned upside down as I was so very active until this disease took away from me everything I ever was and everything I wanted to be.

The realization that I was soon going to die and would not be able to live a normal life was something that I never dreamed would happen to me. I was so strong and fit that at first I didn’t believe this was happening. But this disease is unrelenting and like a thief in the night it slowly starts robbing your body’s ability to make oxygen for yourself and to live a normal life. This disease took me down the longest darkest road I have ever been on. To not be able to do the normal things I had done all my life, like walk, climb the stairs, or just pick up my grandchildren and hug them was the lowest point in my life.

Now there was just one ray of light at the end of the tunnel, one miracle that I never took my eye off of because it gave me hope, strength and a reason to continue to live, a transplant. I was given a second chance at life. The thought of an unknown stranger losing their life yet donating a life saving organ so that I may return to a normal life is a debt I will never be able to repay and a responsibility that I with never forget.

I am now back to swimming two miles a day, walking 18 holes of golf and playing endlessly with my grandchildren. This miracle I’ve been given starts with thanking God, my donor, my family, and all the many doctors, surgeons and nurses. To once again be able to live a normal life is the greatest gift I have every been given. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you have until something like this is taken away from you and you look back at where you’ve been and what you’ve gone through and you feel so immensely grateful.

If you don’t believe in miracles then all you have to do is look at me and it will change opinion forever!

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