A journey to gratitude

Bryan Klemm and his dog hike two miles at Paynes Prairie, a significant accomplishment for Bryan, who received a double-lung transplant in December 2019.

Bryan Klemm’s 25-year journey to celebrating good health was certainly not easy.

Before Bryan’s first birthday, he was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis Obliterans Organizing Pneumonia (BOOP) and Bronchiectasis. These progressive, end-stage lung diseases would require a transplant at some point in his life.

That point came 25 years later for Bryan. He needed oxygen support 24/7 to stabilize his breathing. His care team referred to UF Health for surgery and, hopefully, a lung match for transplant.

Over the next few months, the Klemms waited by the phone, anxiously waiting to hear from UF Health for a perfect match for Bryan’s lungs. His mother, Julie, recounts this time of anticipation, which crossed several holidays, like Thanksgiving.

“I was not sure whether to put a turkey in the oven or what to do because the phone could ring at any moment,” Julie said.

“We were on the edge of our seats. The waiting and the expectation was such an exhausting time for all of us.”

The call they hoped for finally came December 2019.

On December 30, 2019, Bryan received his “gift of life,” through a successful double lung transplant at UF Health.

Nearly a year has passed since Bryan’s successful transplant. His family is grateful for his improving health, and they’re looking forward to a more relaxing holiday season.

“This year we are celebrating better health and not waiting on the phone to ring. We are looking forward to just enjoy and relax and not worrying about getting ‘the call,’” Julie said.

The Klemm family

In that spirit of gratefulness, the Klemms generously contributed to UF Health with hopes to offer more patients an excellent experience like Bryan had.

Bryan wants others to be able to enjoy life and reach their goals just as he is getting to do now.  

“No matter how small or large of a gift you make, it does make quite a difference,” Julie said.

“Being able to see the lives it is helping means so much.”

Since his surgery, Bryan is thriving and has big goals for the future, like traveling the world and completing a 5K run or two.

“But, doing anything without needing my oxygen tank is really enough for me,” Bryan said.

Every patient success is a team celebration at UF Health. By making a gift of any amount, you become part of the team celebrating positive outcomes, like that Bryan’s.

Your donation enhances the patient experience through funding new technologies, critical equipment and treatments, and improved facilities.

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Give Hope. Spread Joy.

This holiday season, please consider making a gift that will give hope and spread joy to more patients and their families. Along with your gift, we invite you to send a note of encouragement to a patient spending this holiday season in the hospital.