Kadeem Morgan
Kadeem Morgan, who had a double lung transplant in 2017, says, "the best way for me to say 'thank you' is to live every day." (Photo: Courtesy Kadeem Morgan)

As 23-year-old Kadeem Morgan will tell you, most cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are rebels.

"There's a lot of things we're told we can't do, like they say we can never ever go on a rollercoaster – the air pressure is too hard on our lungs," Kadeem says. "But the first time I went to Canada's Wonderland, I went on Behemoth, front car, five times in a row.

"I was a teenager then but I've never let CF run my life."

CF is a genetic condition that primarily affects the respiratory system, causing the lungs to produce excessive mucus. If you're living with CF, it can feel like you're drowning.

While Kadeem may have rebellious tendencies, he understands the importance of taking care of himself.

"I had a double lung transplant in 2017. I thought I died and went to heaven because I could breathe," Kadeem says. "But as great as that high was, there's also a low that comes with transplant.

"There's guilt. Someone had to die for me to get this gift. So, I treat my body like a temple.

"The best way for me to say 'thank you' is to live every day. I'm not putting these lungs to waste." 

CF is rare, and predominately affects Caucasians. Black individuals have only a one in 17,000 chance of having the disease. The fact that both Kadeem and his brother have CF, makes them an extremely rare, perhaps unique, case.

Kadeem's story is part of season one of "Living Transplant," a podcast from UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre and the Centre for Living Organ Donation. It launches Nov. 2, with new episodes every two weeks.

Hosted by registered nurse Brittany Cole and communications specialist Courtney Mahrt, the podcast gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Ajmera Transplant Centre through the stories of UHN Patient Partners such as Kadeem, as well as interviews with program leaders and dedicated staff.

Like, comment, subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or visit livingorgandonation.ca to listen.

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