Double lung transplant recipient thankful for second chance - WNEM TV 5

Double lung transplant recipient thankful for second chance

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Matt Cross lives for the evening walks he takes with his dad.

With each step he pays homage to six months ago when his life and the life of a complete stranger changed forever.

"It was really hard for my parents to watch me go through this," Matt Cross said.

Matt Cross is a double lung transplant recipient. The 31-year-old suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma since he was born. He was tied to an oxygen tank and his lungs only functioned at 14 percent.

"We had gone through most of his life really expecting him to not live very long," said Jim Cross, Matt Cross' father.

However, Matt Cross never gave up. He chose to get on the organ transplant list and after a two year and two month wait, the call came on Jan. 29.

"In the middle of the night they lung transplanted me. Double lung transplant, four hour surgery," he said.

A short time after the surgery his new lungs were working.

"It felt amazing. It felt unbelievable. I basically just said, 'thank you lord Jesus.' You know, I was just so blessed and I still am today," Matt Cross said.

He said the scar on his chest is a daily reminder of the pain suffered by the family he doesn't know.

"I feel really heartbroken for the family. You know, it's hard," he said.

One day the Cross family hopes to meet the donor's family.

"To know and see the lungs that were in their loved one, are now helping to keep Matt alive. That's an incredible thing to think about," Jim Cross said.

There are nearly 3,500 people in Michigan on the organ waiting list and 55 percent of adults in the state are registered donors.

Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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