Bowling Green man thankful in face of health setbacks

Bowling Green Daily News | Laurel Wilson

Thanksgiving Day is wonderful, but not the only time of thanks for George and Eleanor Allen of Bowling Green – they are appreciative of life every day.

George, 59, has battled a series of health problems over the past seven years, but with support from family and friends, along with his faith, he has emerged with a new zeal for life. This Thanksgiving, he reflected on his journey and the blessing of being alive.

In April 2005, George was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, which means he had fungus around his lungs, Eleanor said.

“The only thing that would keep me alive was a transplant,” George said.

For months, the Allens had to be prepared at a moment’s notice in case lungs became available for organ donation. In December 2005, they got the call that a set of lungs were a match for George.

“It was really exciting,” he recalled. “I left not knowing if I’d be back. I was ready for either or.”

George made it through the transplant, but it hasn’t been an easy road to recovery, as he developed other health problems during the past few years. The medication he takes to ensure his body accepts the transplant caused him to develop skin cancer a couple of years ago. This summer, he had quadruple bypass heart surgery.

Photo: George Allen (center) with his wife Eleanor, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at their home in Bowling Green, Ky. Over seven years ago Allen, a retired factory worker, was diagnosed with a condition called pulmonary fibrosis, which causes scaring in the lungs making it very difficult to breath. "The doctor told me 'you won't live more than three years without a transplant,'" said Allen. So, in 2005 Allen and his wife traveled to Jewish Hospital in Louisville where he underwent a double lung transplant. Although he is not able to do everything he used to, Allen is grateful to be alive. (Photo by Nathan Morgan/Daily News)