After double lung transplant, G.I. woman serves as advocate for organ donation

Grand Island Independent | Lauren Sedam

After a recent double-lung transplant, Tam Lyions of Ord (right) exercises while working with Live Well Physical Therapy owner and physical therapist Barb Engberg as part of her recovery. Until the transplant, Lyions was suffering with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a rare genetic disorder that affects the lungs. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

When Tam Lyions’ phone rang on the afternoon of May 25, she didn’t realize it was the call she had been waiting to receive for two years, seven months and 25 days.

She didn’t even really look at the number before she picked up.

Tam, who had been diagnosed with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, was living with lung function hovering around 15 percent. She had planned to have one of her adult children, Matthew, over to bake cinnamon rolls. Her youngest, Wyatt, 13, had a friend over.

The person on the phone said she was from the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.

“Are you busy?” the caller, a member of Tam’s transplant team, said.

“How about coming over here and getting some lungs?” the woman asked. Continue reading