Tell Me About It: The gift of life

Tony Messer stands next to a Donate Life wreath on display at the Allen County Museum made by his niece, Angie Kranz, of Lima. 
Craig J. Orosz | The Lima NewsY

LIMA NEWS | Janet Ferguson

Tony Messer was born and raised in Lima, got married, had two young girls and was working to support his family. When the girls were ages 5 and 8 things got tough for him and his family.

“I was diagnosed with the disease sarcoidosis,” Messer said. “It’s an immune system disease and in my case it targeted the lungs. I had a chest X-ray and then they could tell there was something wrong with the lungs and a pulmonologist diagnosed it as sarcoid and they really don’t know what caused the disease.”

Messer said he did not have trouble breathing for some time and they treated the disease with steroids that helped to slow the progress of the disease.

“They treated it for about seven years before I had the transplant,” he said. “I was 37, by the time I had the lung transplant our daughters were 15 and 12. I was on oxygen and was struggling with breathing. That’s the point I was at when they put me on the transplant list and they told me that at best I had two years.”

A lung transplant was still somewhat new when Messer went through the surgery.

“The Cleveland Clinic did their first lung transplant in ‘90. I was the 108th person at that time and now they do that many or more in one year,” he said. “It’s amazing that they can do that and everything function just as well and you really don’t know. It’s an amazing thing.”

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