Lung transplant recipient David Skalski units new targets, evokes others to struggle for air | Native Information

David Skalski is aware of the significance of getting a purpose.

In the summer time of 2017, David Skalski, often known as “Ski” to his buddies, underwent a profitable left lung transplant surgical procedure at Temple University Hospital for problems from a uncommon sickness known as interstitial lung illness. The situation destroyed 75% of his lungs.

Three years and 4 extra surgical procedures later for problems and different circumstances, Skalski discovered himself carrying his lung donor John Tuzak’s ashes up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was Skalski’s purpose. It was all the time there within the distance – the factor that gave him the energy to push by means of the setbacks, the painful surgical procedures and the irritating restoration processes.

Though Skalski got here simply 3,000 toes in need of reaching the height of 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, he credit that purpose together with his post-transplant surgical procedure success.

Skaski, 67, lately handed the essential five-year marker for lung transplant recipients.

“I asked what the longest anyone has lived and the doctor told me 16 years. I said we should be talking in 17 years then,” says Skalski, of Lancaster.

Last month, Skalski – who’s recovering from yet one more surgical procedure, this time on his again and unrelated to the lung transplant – attended the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which raised greater than $100,000. He may solely climb a few flights of stairs through the occasion, however his group raised greater than $1,000 for the American Lung Association. His group was made up of three generations of his relations; his nephew and niece, ages 7 and 11, took first place of their age group, he says proudly.

Skalski may not have been in a position to absolutely compete within the climb, however he made an influence in one other manner – by addressing the gang of about 250 folks earlier than the occasion and sharing his inspirational story.

“I tell people all the time that are getting a transplant or thinking about getting a transplant: You can do whatever you want to do,” says Skalski. “It may not be Kilimanjaro or Everest, but if you’ve got a goal in mind that’s special to you, like mine was to me, it’s going to carry you a long way.”

Skalski might be attending the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb at Three Logan Square, 1717 Arch St., in Philadelphia on April 9. Participants can register in particular person for $50 plus a minimal $100 in fundraising cash. Skalski will handle the gang there too.

In reality, talking has helped Skalski provide you with a brand new purpose too.

“I want to talk to 10,000 people over the next 10 years,” says Skalski. “Then I’ll be at the 16-17 year mark.”

Skalski has scaled heights of 16,400 toes, however for the climber, delivering his inspirational story, whether or not it’s to a crowd of lots of at a PNC Park or a single particular person in a Temple University Hospital mattress awaiting surgical procedure provides him simply as a lot of a thrill.

“When I get done with a speech, I’m about two feet off the ground,” says Skalski. “It juices me up.”

On April 1, Skalski was cleared to start coaching for his subsequent purpose: climbing Mount Everest. He plans on climbing the mountain throughout a two-week interval in late September and early October.

His physician instructed him to start his coaching slowly and keep away from steep hills, which is tough for a mountain climber. But Skalski is assured, feeling prepared to attain the following purpose on his to-do listing.

Find extra details about the Fight for Air Climb on Saturday at

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