A second wind: Florida woman's lungs live on

NAPLES DAILY NEWS | Nada Hassanein
Lung transplant recipient Paul Dukor meets the family of his donor, Tiffany Ciccarelli, for lunch at the Tallahassee Cracker Barrel Sunday, June 25.
One year after his lung transplant, Paul Dukor's wife threw him a surprise "lung-o-versary" party, as they called it. One of the many colorful balloons that graced the venue was a bright red one. Penned onto the balloon read the words: "In memory of Tiffany. We are so grateful."

Tiffany Ciccarelli, who had relocated from Tallahassee to Naples, was Dukor's lung donor. After her death, her lungs have kept the 69-year-old Lakewood Ranch man, who suffered from a rare lung disease, alive.

The balloon stayed inflated with air for several months after that day, unlike the others, Dukor said. But when it deflated, he kept it in his den on his window seat as a keepsake of a woman he had never met, but with whom he felt he shared an uncanny physical connection.

"I turn towards it during my morning exercises and thank Tiffany for the gift of life," he said. "That's the kind of relationship I have with my lungs.

"Tiffany's a hero to me."

Dukor was suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that doctors said would be terminal if not for a lung transplant. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, two to 29 per 100,000 people suffer from the disease. His father died in 1970 of the same illness, Dukor said. Continue reading
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