2 Years Post Transplant A Rochester Family Receives Trip of a Lifetime

December 21, 2018 05:49 PM

(ABC 6 News) - The holidays can be full of surprises, and that’s especially true for one Rochester family.

“Two years ago he was dead, you know, he didn’t have a chance of existing,” said Steve's wife, Caren Shank.


Then Steve got a lung transplant.

“Since the transplant, he’s had two years to be a dad and to be a husband,” Caren said.

And they don’t take a day of that for granted.

This year for Christmas, the Shanks are getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It’s an honor and an unbelievable situation for our family and our kids to get to experience something of that magnitude,” said Steve.

On Christmas, they’ll be flying to Pasadena, CA so they can ride on Donate Life’s float in the Rose Bowl Parade.

Steve and Caren will surprise their kids with the news on Christmas Eve.

“I can’t wait to see their faces and they’re going to go crazy and not be able to handle themselves,” said Steve.

They’ll be making a pit stop in Disneyland. 

“Before Steve got sick, Disney was definitely on the agenda. You know it’s like every family’s dream to take your kids to Disney and have an awesome vacation and that just got pushed back a little bit,” said Caren.

The trip will be even more meaningful because in January, Steve’s going to be evaluated to see if now he’ll need a kidney transplant.

“My kidney function shave been going down and I’m right on the borderline of needing a transplant,” Steve said, which is in part due to the medicine he’s taken post-lung transplant.

Dr. Mikel Prieto, a transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic, experience the gift of life organ donation gives recipients, every day.

“Essentially this is one of the few situations when you can change somebody’s life it’s like you see a burning house and get somebody out this is that kind of area of reward,” he said.

Steve and his family are pretty optimistic,“Now that I’ve almost died every day is unbelievable it’s not so many people are just like today it’s raining you know what I was dead and now I’m alive."


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