Tyler Degand: Lung Recipient Strikes a Winning Pose
Tyler Degand was 14 years old when a rare strain of influenza B landed him in the hospital, on a ventilator, struggling to stay alive.
Now 16, Tyler enjoys the every day activities of a high school sophomore, including the excitement of learning to drive. But he doesn't take "normal" for granted, and is very grateful to his donor, the team at UW Health OPO and his transplant team.
Pictured left is a photo of Tyler taken by UW Health photographer John Maniaci that recently won first place in a nationwide photo competition sponsored by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI). Tyler requested the shirtless pose on the day he went home from the hospital so he could remember how much strength it took to survive the journey.
The transplant unit at UW Hospital is a long way from Nebraska, where Tyler lives with his family, but his new friends at UW Hospital and Clinics and American Family Children's Hospital are always watching over him.
A little more than a year after his double-lung transplant, Tyler takes his anti-rejection medicine and follows doctors' orders so he can stay active and healthy. Before his transplant, he battled feelings of self-pity as his health deteriorated, but his attitude is nothing but optimistic now.
"I can really feel the difference." he says. "Now I appreciate all the little things, like how I don't have to fear a flight of stairs anymore."
Watch as Tyler Degand, his dad and his UW Health physicians - Nilto De Oliveira, MD, and Richard Cornwell, MD - explain why Tyler needed a double-lung transplant at only 14, and how he is now able to enjoy being a teenager again.