Transplant survivor returns to his pasion: the outdoors

successful liver transplant means Chris Buckingham, center, can enjoy hunting trips again with sons Brett, left, and Dylan.
STAR TRIBUNE | Tori McCormick

Liver procedure is ticket to embrace outdoors again.

Last autumn, on Minnesota’s warm and windy pheasant opener, a rooster flushed from a grassy hillside near a picked bean field. In that split-second, and acting on instinct honed over many years of upland hunting, Chris Buckingham swung on the bird, slapped the trigger and watched the rooster tumble to the ground.

Seconds later, his young springer spaniel retrieved the bird to hand.

“I sat on the hillside and savored the moment a little bit,” said Buckingham, 54, of Glenwood in west-central Minnesota. “I had to get out there to prove to myself I could do it again. My doctors advised me to take it easy, but I’m a little bullheaded. I thought it was time. I felt good enough to go.”

But this was no ordinary pheasant opener. Buckingham was hunting for the first time with a new organ. A year ago this month, and with his life in danger, Buckingham had a liver transplant, courtesy of his “living donor” and wife, Diane. Today, despite a few setbacks typical of organ transplants, Buckingham said he feels deep gratitude for his new lease on life. Continue reading
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