Lung transplant recipient thanks donor 'every time I take a deep breath'

M LIVE | Kayla Miller
PORTAGE, MI -- "I thank him every morning when I wake up, every time I take a deep breath," Roy Menken, 55, said of the man whose lungs keep him alive today.

Menken, who underwent a double lung transplant in March 2017, was diagnosed in 2015 with the genetic disorder Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which causes lung deterioration, and given two years to live.

"Without the transplant, I wouldn't have made it to my 55th birthday," Menken said. "My wife was devastated."

The Alpha-1 disease is a deficiency of a protein that is made in the liver and released into the blood. The disease can impact liver function, cause lung deterioration or both.

Menken left his job of nearly 25 years at the Kalamazoo County Building Maintenance Department in 2014 when he suffered from shortness of breath and difficulty doing everyday tasks.

"Before the transplant, it took me one minute to climb a flight of eight stairs," Menken said. Continue reading

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