Community comes together for Gerald LaValley

Since last year, LaValley has been on a waiting list for a double-lung transplant. In order to qualify to be on the list, he has to go through a rigorous physical examination every three months at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate hospital of Harvard Medical School. So far, LaValley said he has been offered three sets of lungs, though none have worked out for him.

"The first time there wasn't enough time to get there, and the second time, the lungs they had already had asthma, and I didn't want to trade one problem for another," said LaValley. "The last time, they found out one of lungs was bad."

"The doctors told me this might happen eight, 10 times," he added. "They told me I might get there for the transplant and send me back home because of some problem they could find with the lung."

So, until LaValley can find suitable replacements for his lungs, he continues the day-to-day struggle with his condition. When that day comes, however, he plans to be ready.

"They've already told me the surgery for a single-lung transplant would be about six to eight hours; a double-lung would be about eight to 14," he said. "Then, it would be about two to eight weeks before I would be able to go home. I'm hoping it'll be two weeks."

Having to spend the majority of his time at home, LaValley said he is eagerly awaiting the new lease on life a new set of lungs would give him.

"I've been told I'll be able to go back and do some of the activities I used to do, but as far as going back to work, I don't know if I'll be able to do that," said LaValley. "I'd like to go back to work, though. If my body lets me do it, I'll do it."

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