• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Double Lung Transplant Recipient Beats Cystic Fibrosis

August 14, 2016


When Tammy Bolerjack was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 18, she found herself frequently in and out of hospitals for treatments to help her breathe. Running 5K races and half-marathons certainly wasn’t something she envisioned in her future. Little did she know then that eventually a double lung transplant at Mayo Clinic'sFlorida campus would not only allow her to breath normally, but would motivate her to become a fitness enthusiast and a competitive runner.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. It affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive secretions. Normally thin and slippery, those secretions serve as lubricants in the body. In people with cystic fibrosis, however, the secretions are thick and sticky, clogging airways, tubes and passageways in the lungs and pancreas.

In more than 75 percent of patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, the disease is identified by age two. As the condition progresses, trips to the hospital usually become more frequent because the secretions need to be cleared to allow normal breathing. When the disease gets to a critical point, a lung transplant often is the only treatment option. Read the rest of Tammy's story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.