A Reunion of Gratitude and Friendship: Six Long-term Lung Transplant Recipients Reconnect and Celebrate at Countryside Retreat

From left: Monica, 12 years post double lung transplant; Pisana, 21 years; Samantha, 19 years; Meri, 18 years; Alessandro, 20 years; Veronica, 19 years. In the middle stands Erna, a remarkable woman who provided unwavering support to us and our families during our time in Vienna, both before and after our life-changing surgeries.

All of us underwent our transplant procedures at AKH, Vienna General Hospital. Though we had stayed in touch over the years, it was Erna who conceived the idea of reuniting our group in the picturesque town of San Benedetto del Tronto, where one of our members resides.

For three unforgettable days, we immersed ourselves in the beauty of the Marche region, savoring its local culinary delights and exquisite wines. Our time together was filled with sharing our experiences, reflecting on the arduous journey we had endured, and expressing our profound gratitude for the new lives we had been given. Laughter filled the air as we regaled each other with tales, finding solace and understanding in the camaraderie that bound us.

The highlight of our reunion was a memorable Zoom call with Prof. Walter Klepetko, the world known thoracic surgeon who had skilfully performed our life-saving surgeries. Through this heartfelt connection, we were able to convey our deepest appreciation to the visionary behind our transformative medical journeys.

In the embrace of friendship, gratitude, and shared triumph, our reunion reaffirmed the enduring strength of the human spirit. Each of us left San Benedetto del Tronto with renewed hope and a cherished bond that will forever unite us on our remarkable transplant odyssey.

Author: Pisana Ferrari, May 26, 2023

Authorisation to publish provided by all persons mentioned in the article.

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