Walk to celebrate organ donation is also a chance for patients to exercise new lungs, hearts

BALTIMORE SUN | Scott Dance
Walkers set off for the ninth annual Donate Life Family Fun Run near Camden Yards. The Living Legacy Foundation hosts the event to celebrate and raise awareness for organ donation. (Scott Dance / Baltimore Sun)
Less than a year ago, Tim Koelble had surgery to replace both of his lungs. The 66-year-old sportswriter for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail was struggling to breathe with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an inflammatory lung disease.

He called the decision to undergo a transplant “the best move I ever made.” On Saturday, it helped him make another move he never expected to make — walking three miles alongside fellow recipients of donated organs.

“It’s an honor to be able to do this,” said Koelble, whose six months of preparations included walking 25 miles in a week while in Baltimore for an Orioles homestand with his brother. “I set my mind on it.”

Hundreds of organ recipients, along with their friends, family, doctors and nurses, ran and walked for the Living Legacy Foundation’s Donate Life Family Fun Run around the Camden Yards Sports Complex on Saturday. Among them were more than two dozen patients who received heart or lung transplants at the University of Maryland Medical Center, including Koelble, who are a part of a support group that is emphasizing the importance of exercise in organ transplant recovery. Continue reading
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