2016 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Leonard Stringfellow
Leonard Stringfellow, age 59, became very sick, very quickly. "2014 is a year I'll never forget," says Leonard. "I started gaining weight and was very tired. It was getting hard to breathe." Leonard was in and out of the hospital for several months while doctors tried to determine what was wrong.
When he became very sick, his physician in Illinois referred him to the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, where his medical team and the UW Health transplant team spent the next three months stabilizing Leonard's condition so he could receive a liver transplant. A retired member of the United States Air Force, Leonard had long suffered severe arthritis pain in his ankle. Prolonged use of over-the-counter medications had damaged his liver.
"I missed Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day," says Leonard. He received his transplant on March 10, 2015, and was able to return home in April. During this time Leonard never lost his optimism or his belief in his ability to recover and heal. He credits his faith, his medical team and the unwavering support of Cynthia, his wife of more than 30 years. Leonard is glad he was able to receive his care at the VA Hospital in Madison. "At first I was nervous about going to Madison, but I am grateful to my healthcare team. They were very attentive and kept me very comfortable."
Leonard is grateful for his second chance at life. He and his wife recently built a new home where Leonard now has the strength to tackle home projects and go fishisg off his dock. "None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow," says Leonard, "but we have to keep believing and looking on the bright side."