Grateful lung transplant survivor wishes more New Yorkers would donate organs

Maurilio “Mauri” Giannada waited a nerve-racking 10 months before receiving a donated lung last summer. He’s holding a pillow given to him by his medical aides at the Cleveland Clinic, where he had surgery last July. (Photos by Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)
At least once each day, Maurilio "Mauri" Giannada thinks about a young man from Wisconsin named Ryan.

He has never met him. Never will. He doesn't even know his last name. But Ryan played a pivotal role in Giannada's life.

Giannada, 65, a retired Buffalo schoolteacher, is a lung transplant recipient. The lung he carries in the right side of his chest – the lung that enables him to breath normally, after years of struggle and suffering – came from Ryan, who died last summer in a skateboarding accident, a few days short of his 32nd birthday.

After being diagnosed with a lung ailment called ideopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Giannada was placed on a list of approved people awaiting lung transplants in September 2015. For 10 months, he agonized and worried. He wondered if a lung would ever become available for him, and it saddened him to know that, in order for that to happen, someone would have to die.

"It was the most anxious, agonizing time of my life," Gianadda said. "I didn’t know if I would ever get a lung." Continue reading
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