Thrive by IU Health

April 26, 2024

'Back to normal' after a double lung transplant, grateful patient wants others to receive the same care he did

'Back to normal' after a double lung transplant, grateful patient wants others to receive the same care he did

After working as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch for more than three decades, David Morgan had a lightbulb moment. His experience helping others save for retirement gave him the foresight to set up a family foundation to support the philanthropic initiatives he was passionate about.

“It’s money I’ve put away through the years. The stock market has been good to us,” he said. “Our mission is to help people who need financial support through no fault of their own.”

Morgan was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis around a decade ago, a disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. It worsens over time.

A lifelong athlete and traveler, Morgan and his wife Leslie would take bike trips through Europe with friends every couple of years.

“On our second or third bike trip, I started to notice I was having trouble getting up some hills,” he said. “I just didn’t quite have it, but I passed that off because I’ve always been the kind to ignore pain.”

Morgan also tutored third graders as a volunteer through United Way’s ReadUP literacy program.

“I think working with the kids is probably where I got COVID,” he said. “That’s when things went to hell. It took my lungs from about 65% down to 15%.”

The toll COVID took on his lungs made Morgan a candidate for a double lung transplant. While working through the protocol to get transplanted, he was tethered to an oxygen tank. Finally, he got the call on August 12, 2022. His new lungs were ready.

“I wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for the talented surgeons at IU Health,” Morgan said. “When it was my turn, the surgeons were fabulous. I can’t say enough about Dr. Chad Denlinger and Dr. Kashif Saleem, as well as the organ donor who gave me the gift of my lungs.”

He spent three weeks in the hospital after his transplant, then immediately went to rehab at the Center of Life for Thoracic Transplant (COLTT) at Methodist Hospital. During a long year of recovery, David experienced the strain a transplant surgery and recovery can put on a patient and their family.

“This is when I started to realize I wanted to help transplant patients who need financial support,” he said. “Because you have to come in every day to work out while you recover. I was lucky; almost all my meds and supplies were covered through Medicare. But what if you’re not on Medicare? What if you’re not old enough? What if you have to travel? That’s a lot of time and expense in hotels and traveling to appointments.”

Morgan asked Dr. Saleem where patients who weren’t as financially secure as he was turned for support. Dr. Saleem let him know about the Jerome Josephs Transplant Family Support Fund through IU Health Foundation. Supporting the fund was a no-brainer for Morgan and his family.

“The basic reason we’re contributors is to support people who don’t have the resources or wherewithal to get what I got,” he said. “This year, we went to Florida for almost four weeks. I played pickleball, kayaked, rode bikes and spent time with our friends. I’d call that pretty normal. It was wonderful.”

To join David in support of transplant patients and their families as they work to find their new normal, make a gift today. Your gift will help cover non-medical expenses, such as transportation, hotel stays and meals away from home, ensuring every patient has the best possible outcome for a longer, healthier life.