Max Haggerty was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that causes serious complications with the lungs. Many who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis have severe breathing problems and often symptoms become so severe a lung transplant is needed.
In Max’s case the lung transplant was necessary at 22 years old. But the Cystic Fibrosis also caused his body weight to be too low for a safe transplant. A feeding tube was surgically implanted and Max gained the weight needed for the transplant. Most major transplants require transfused blood. Max’s transplant lasted nearly 8 hours and required multiple units.
After the feeding tube surgery Max started to experience complications.
“Three mornings later, already weak from surgery, I went blind temporarily as I stumbled to my front door to let my home nurse in.”
Max was rushed to the hospital, just three days later to cauterize a wound that hadn’t healed from the feeding tube surgery. The wound caused severe internal bleeding and Max had almost no blood pressure. The wound was healed and Max went on to have a successful transplant.
At 26 years old, Max began to feel sick again, experiencing migraines and a loss of appetite. Max was suffering from low Hemoglobin and Hematocrit levels, an indicator of a loss in red blood cells. Max required another blood transfusion and he immediately felt better.
A month later Max’s health began to deteriorate again and another transfusion was necessary. With the help of a blood specialist Max found out that he had Parvovirus B19 which stop the production of red blood cells. To recover Max needed IVIG doses. IVIG stands for intravenous immunoglobulin, which is a product extracted from the plasma of over 1,000 blood donors. Max will likely need this treatment for much of his life until the Parvovirus is gone from his body.
Max is a testament to the extraordinary gifts of ordinary people. People who give a part of themselves to help a complete stranger. It could be a child born premature, a victim of an accident or someone like Max.
Max returned to the University of Oregon to pursue degrees in Accounting and Political Science. Max’s favorite sports include basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer and tennis.