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P.E.I. native upbeat following double-lung transplant

P.E.I. native Luke Allen says the improvement in his health is like night and day since undergoing double-lung transplant surgery. Plenty of physiotherapy is in Allen’s immediate future as he works to build up his strength.
P.E.I. native Luke Allen says the improvement in his health is like night and day since undergoing double-lung transplant surgery. Plenty of physiotherapy is in Allen’s immediate future as he works to build up his strength. - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Luke Allen has become lucky in lungs.

Allen, 24, of Halifax was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at six months of age.

Still, he was “pretty healthy’’ growing up in P.E.I., playing AAA hockey and enjoying plenty of golf.

His health, however, started to decline as a young adult.

Most notably, his lungs were not doing a very good job.

He underwent a two-year process of assessments and testing before finally being cleared to have a double lung transplant.

The wait for available lungs was only two months, which he considers “pretty lucky”.

Even better, his new lungs are very healthy, which has left him feeling “really, really lucky”.

Doctors tell Allen the new lungs should work well.

So far, they have.

Allen’s lung capacity before the double-transplant surgery on Jan. 24 – a procedure that took almost 10 hours – was at a mere 21 per cent. Two-and-a-half weeks after the successful double-transplant, his lung capacity registered at 66 per cent.

“It’s like night and day…walking is almost effortless,’’ he says.

His lungs are only expected to get stronger with time.

For now, physiotherapy will consume much of his time and effort for the next three months as he builds up his strength.

Allen, who was the male junior golfer of the year on P.E.I. in 2012, is eager to get back to the game.

He had been working at Glen Arbour Golf Course in Nova Scotia until deteriorating health got in the way.

Now, he is setting his sight on playing competitive golf in Atlantic Canada in maybe two years.

His road back to golf, as well as the path to a normal life, will require patience.

His doctor, for example, recommends only putting and chipping as part of any golf regiment this summer.

“Ease into things,’’ explains Allen, who is grateful to have been given the opportunity - thanks to the double-lung transplant - to work his way back to a full and fulfilling life.

Brad Allen of Fortune is thrilled with the positive turn of events with his son’s health.

He described watching Luke’s health decline so severely as “pretty nerve wracking’’.

The past three winters, one lung infection after another had Luke in hospital more often than he was out.

Brad feared one more bad lung infection could have proved fatal for his son.

The successful double lung transplant has offered a welcome new lease on life.

“It’s like he’s back to his old self,’’ said Brad.

“I can already see the difference in him. He is just walking along, more energy.’’

Luke is very appreciative of all the support he has received from friends and family, many of whom live on P.E.I.

And he feels extremely grateful and lucky to have received new lungs.

Naturally, Luke does not have any difficulty singing the praises of organ donation.

“Well, I think it’s very important,’’ he says.

“My perspective is, if your time is up and you can help somebody, why not.’’


Many waiting

There are over 4,500 people in Canada right now who are waiting for an organ transplant. If they receive the organ or organs they need, their lives could be saved or greatly enhanced. The number of transplants performed in Canada is almost 3,000 each year.

The main organs and tissues donated after a person dies are kidneys, corneas, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, bowel, bone, eye tissue, and skin.

There is no age restriction dictating who can and cannot donate their organs. Nothing regarding your final wishes upon your death (i.e., funeral arrangements) changes, and there is no additional charge to you or your family. Your general health and underlying medical history are more important in determining whether or not you could donate your organs.

Click here for more information on organ donation

Source: Health Canada

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