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Joe's Story

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From Paratrooper to Oxygen Dependent

Joe was a soldier, a proud member of the 1st Airborne. But over the years, Joe’s COPD made it more and more difficult for him to breathe. He went from paratrooper to a man who couldn’t walk up the stairs to his house. Three years ago Joe began to depend on his oxygen tank 24/7.

“It got to the point that my quality of life was zero. For someone who had been independent and doing things for myself for so long, that was really demoralizing. You brush your teeth and you feel like you ran a marathon. You roll over in bed and you’re tired. And it’s because you can’t breathe. It’s almost like you’re drowning.”

Joe was being treated by his doctors in Ocean City, NJ but his breathing continued to worsen.  

His doctor said, “Joe, you need to get to Temple."

A New Beginning

Joe and his family met with Temple pulmonologist Gerard Criner, MD, who evaluated his lung condition. Dr. Criner determined that Joe needed a lung transplant to survive.

Although he was a high-risk patient, the Temple transplant team was able to perform the double lung transplant that gave Joe back his life. 

“Once we got that call from Temple saying they had a set of lungs for me, life changed drastically. That first breath after the surgery, was like a new beginning. I really felt what it meant to be able to breathe. And a few days after I got home, I stopped using the oxygen. I was ready to go with my new life.”

That first breath after the surgery, was like a new beginning.


Three months after his surgery, Joe and his daughter did a 3K walk together for Gift of Life. “He even did the Rocky thing on the Art Museum steps“ recalls his daughter.

Today, Joe dedicates his time and energy to his family and his community. 

The Temple Lung Center has helped thousands of people live longer and have a better quality of life.