Louisville father reflects on gift of second chance at life

WHAS 11 | Denise Ting

As a child, Barnum was told he would probably live until his teens. Now 41 years old, Barnum has proved those doctors wrong, getting married and having twin daughters along the way. (Photo: Provided)


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- For Zack Barnum, life has always been an uphill battle.

"I was born with cystic fibrosis, so I have that. I was diagnosed at about seven days old," he said. "I was always skinny, underweight, so as a kid, I was constantly teased for that."

As a child, Barnum was told he would probably live until his teens. Now 41 years old, Barnum has proved those doctors wrong, getting married and having twin daughters along the way. But one year ago, things took a turn for the worse.

"I always joked my entire life I wanted to make it to 40. Well I made it to 40, but as it turns out, things started to get a lot worse at that point," he said.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that damages a person's lungs and digestive system. Barnum said around his 40th birthday, his lungs were only operating at about 17 percent and he was faced with the inevitable - he needed a transplant.

"I couldn't go anywhere without oxygen 24/7," he said. "I couldn't walk. Walking up a flight of stairs was grueling." Continue reading

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