Hopefully you’ve had the chance to meet Salim and Roxanne from our Together series on GoBoldly.com. Salim is an antirejection researcher and Roxanne had a heart transplant 7 years ago this week and takes antirejection medicine every day.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Salim and Roxanne in person during our GOBOLDLY Together shoots earlier this year, and it brought back some memories for me.
Back in 1991, my father had a liver transplant. During that time, transplants weren’t as common as they are now. He was only the 12th person to have a liver transplant in the tristate area of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
I was in the 7th grade at the time and, along with my mother, became an instant expert of all things transplant.
The doctors told us the new liver may last for 7 years. They weren’t really sure. But we knew we were going to do anything and everything to get through it as a family.
Antirejection drugs were a new concept to us. They had been around since the 1960s, allowing patients to receive non-identical donor organs so the person’s body wouldn’t reject the new organ. That medicine was the key to life as we now knew it; like oxygen.
Today, thanks to tenacious researchers like Salim, antirejection medicines are better than ever. Researchers are continuously learning new, updated methods to enable organ recipients to live longer, more robust lives.
As Salim says in this video, “Transplantation was simply lifesaving; now transplantation is life giving. And this difference from saving someone’s life to that individual having a life of giving is a huge achievement. And it is thanks to the general advances of medicine and the general advances of antirejection drugs.”
Lucky for us, my dad was able to live an amazing life for 15 additional years, not just 7. Each year we celebrated two birthdays – his real one on July 30 and his liver-versary on October 7. Quite remarkable.
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Learn more about the researchers, patients, and breakthroughs in progress at www.innovation.org.
Amber Lyons Amber is senior director of public affairs at PhRMA. She eats, breathes and occasionally sleeps PhRMA’s national multi-year GOBOLDLY campaign, launched in January 2017. A Midwesterner who’s now spent close to 20 years in DC, Amber’s a recovering political junkie, world traveler, wine enthusiast and a kettlebell devotee. #goboldly