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A Friend in Need

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Summer 2001
a friend in need
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THOUGH DANNY HAS HAD TO RETURN to the operating room twice to repair a hole that developed in one of his new lungs, his future, if not altogether certain, appears brighter than ever. "I'm living now years that are like a gift," he says. "These are years that I wouldn't have had, so I'm really looking forward to them."

While his lung disease disappeared when his original organs were taken out, there's still the perilously real possibility that his body will reject the new lungs or that they will become infected, and he will have to remain on a lifetime regimen of immunosuppressive drugs and other medications. Even so, his chances for survival are significantly improved; the survival rate in the first critical year after transplant is about 76 percent.

"When I got this transplant, the doctor told me I was essentially switching one disease for another," says Danny. "It's a whole new life that I have to get used to as a transplant patient."

Still, Danny remains upbeat. And grateful.

"I figure if it gives me eight years, that's eight years I wouldn't otherwise have had," he says.

"I've always set goals for how long I have to live. My first goal was to graduate high school. Then it was to graduate from UCLA. Then it was to see my son start school. Now," Danny says, "it is to see him graduate high school."

Amy Ko is an associate editor for UCLA Magazine.

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