Blind Ferndale artist paints to raise awareness of organ donation

- Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. 

Despite his loss of sight, a Ferndale man is creating art in hopes of motivating others to become an organ donor after his life, too, was saved through a double transplant. 

"I wouldn't be here without a transplant," says Brendan Patrick. 

The 37-year-old has faced more challenges than most: club feet, diabetes and cystic fibrosis, an inherited lung disease that lead to his blindness. Eventually at 26, he got a life-saving double lung transplant. 

"It's really, really amazing. He was very, very near death. He was transplanted off of a ventilator with a tracheostomy in place," says Dr. Lisa Allenspach of Henry Ford Transplant Institute. "I think one of my most vivid memories of him was just his will and his determination to get better."

That was 10 years ago, and still Brendan appreciates his new lungs every day. He wears a mask in the hospital to keep the germs away, but he's got a joy for life that keeps him busy as a musician and an artist. 

At Henry Ford Hospital, Brendan is part of the celebration to recognize 50 years of doing transplants, and 25 years of lung transplants. 

"I think one of the myths is that it doesn't work, or people only live a few years, but for sure long-term survival is really a reality now for people who have lung transplant," says Dr. Allenspach.

"I feel like I have a second chance at life, and I'm not throwing that away," Patrick says. 

As Henry Ford Health System celebrates 50 years of doing transplants, a reminder that you can go to Gift of Life Michigan and see how easy it is to become a donor. 

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