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Alpha Stories

Alpha learns his lesson — and now teaches it to others

Alpha learns his lesson — and now teaches it to others
Friday, March 16, 2012
Dan Martini learned a lot from pulmonary rehab classes—so that helped him decide to become a Respiratory Therapist Dan Martini thought he knew exactly why he was short of breath: “I was overweight, lazy and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.” But in 1997, seven years after he quit smoking and after several years of severe asthma and recurring bronchitis, he found out...
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Lost and Found

Lost and Found
Friday, March 16, 2012
In 1994, Dennis Pollock was not looking forward to attending his first Alpha-1 support group meeting – he was 34 years old, and it had been less than a year since he had been diagnosed with Alpha-1. His pulmonologist had told him that Alpha-1 was extremely rare, and that he could expect to live only another few years. Raised in Lawton, Oklahoma, Pollock was a wrestler in high school....
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Metamorphosis of an Alpha-1 Patient

Metamorphosis of an Alpha-1 Patient
Friday, March 16, 2012
Reflecting on my confirmed diagnosis of having inherited Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency ZZ and thinking about where I am today closely parallel the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Encouraged by my younger brother and his wife, a nurse I reluctantly ordered a test kit. My precious brother had been misdiagnosed for ten years. When a new pulmonologist finally diagnosed Bruce, he was a ZZ with a...
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Walking sticks are “functional art” — and a contribution to research

Friday, March 16, 2012
Marvin Sineath and Dick Chappell have never met, or even spoken on the phone, but they’re teaming up to raise money for Alpha-1 research, and they’re doing it from two different states. Chappell started making walking sticks for fishing in fast-moving streams. The combination of slick rock and rubber waders often made the footing treacherous. Chappell had a tendency to get...
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One Transplant, Two Cures

One Transplant, Two Cures
Friday, March 16, 2012
Michael Locke could easily run up the steps of his summer cottage in the popular Canadian vacation area of Muskoka, Ontario. Why not? He was a lean, healthy man in his 50s, never smoked, and he’d run up those steps for years without a problem. He never gave it a thought. Just one year later, he had something to think about. He couldn’t run up the steps; he could barely walk up....
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The Fire Inside

The Fire Inside
Friday, March 16, 2012
When Alpha and former firefighter Ed Brailey calls himself a “steak-and-eggs guy,” he’s not just talking about breakfast. He means that he still likes hanging out at the firehouse every now and then, sharing some eats, and shooting the breeze—even though his health forced him to leave the fire company long ago. For a steak-and-eggs guy, however, Brailey can really...
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A Family Affair

A Family Affair
Friday, March 16, 2012
The Eymer family boys formed a bicycle motocross (BMX) racing team a few years ago in Wadsworth, Ill – now, to spread the word about Alpha-1, they’re letting their wheels do the talking. Jayson Eymer is a teenager in love. Although love strikes many teens as a painful experience, for Jayson it’s more painful than for most. He fell head over heels—quite...
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Gary and his EFFORTS

Gary and his EFFORTS
Friday, March 16, 2012
When Gary Bain was first diagnosed with emphysema in 1986, his doctor told him he had about six years to live. Bain couldn’t believe his ears. “Why does a doctor first tell you how long you have to live? I didn’t like that idea.” Bain does not have Alpha-1, but that story will sound familiar to many lung-affected Alphas who have been given the same kind of shocking...
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