Lung Brothers

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 10:03am

Men become fast friends while recovering from lung transplants.

Two Ohio men thought they were close to taking their last breath, but thanks to one generous donor, now they're both breathing easy.

Being able to sing is truly a gift for Joe Gammalo.

For ten years he battled pulmonary fibrosis until it almost took his breath away.

"I said goodbye to my kids I was in a wheelchair and I was on oxygen full time I upgraded my will and I bought a cemetery plot," he says.

The only cure was a lung transplant.

Meanwhile, another man was facing a similar fate.

"They did not know what type of disease it was. They took a biopsy and realized there was no medication available and the only option I would have would be the lung transplant," says Clyde Conn.

Both men were living on borrowed time.

"I was told I had 18 months to live without the lung," Conn says.

The Cleveland Clinic does more lung transplants than anywhere else in the country, but it's not easy to find a set that are usable, but finally the phone call that would save their lives came.

Two strangers went into surgery, but came out connected, sharing a set of lungs from one donor.

Clyde got the right lung, Joe got the left.

A week later they met in intensive care.

That was four years ago.
The men developed a friendship tied together by life.

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