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David Shore and his daughter, Chelsey, celebrate his successful triple transplant and his new
lease on life.
Submitted photo

Originally published: 2013-09-19 11:33:31
Last modified: 2013-09-19 11:38:05

Shore returns home after triple transplants; fundraiser Sept. 22

by Sherrie Norris

David Shore, along with his wife, Tina, and daughter, Chelsey, moved to Durham on Nov. 2, 2012, for what they now refer to as their "journey of miracles."

Shortly before their move, the Watauga Democrat reported on David Shore's life-threatening and rapidly deteriorating condition, stemming from a 2006 diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which, along with liver failure, required lung and liver transplants for any hope of survival.

It's something that turned the family upside down, but now, through the journey -- and coming out stronger on the other side -- Tina Shore said, "It's hard to believe that this could happen to us. These are the kinds of medical miracles you only read about." 

But, she said, her family knows that God saw fit to bless them with  miracles of their own. 

With no other choice late last year -- if their family was to remain intact -- the Shores had to move three hours away from the comfort of home and everything familiar to them. It was the only thing left for them to do, they said, if David was to get his second chance at life. 

Continuous testing was required to make sure that his body was strong enough "and healthy enough," Tina said, to receive what they referred to as "the gifts of life."

After intense daily strength training at Duke's Center for Living, David was approved and listed for a lung and liver transplant. 

"We were told by our transplant team that two lungs and a liver would be optimal, but the size had to be a perfect match for three organs versus one lung and a liver," Tina said. "We then waited on God's perfect match and he provided it 28 days later. On Jan. 17, 2013, the Lord blessed David, and all who love him, with two perfect lungs and a liver."

It was extraordinary, the family agrees, but not simple. 

Each day in the hospital was a struggle for David, according to his wife.

 "Just before the transplant, his lung function had begun to quickly decline. In the days leading up to 'the call,' David was existing on massive amounts of oxygen to keep his oxygen levels up to where they should be," Tina said.

She said she had resigned herself to the fact that she would have to call their transplant coordinator the next day to report the negative change in his condition. 

"That would've meant that they would admit him into the hospital and he would be suspended from the transplant list indefinitely," she said. "He didn't have many days remaining with his diseased lungs. I knew that phone call would mean that David would not get his perfect lungs in time to save his life." 

But, she said, "God intervened once again and at 3 a.m. the next morning we got the call that they had possible organs for David."

By 1 p.m. on Jan. 17, Tina, Chelsey and their support team of family and friends watched as David was wheeled into the operating room. "Twelve hours later, the transplant surgeon came out and told us that the surgery was a success and the organs fit perfectly," Tina said. 

Even then, Tina said, David's fight for survival was nowhere near the finish line. 

"He had to work really hard through many issues," she said, due to his rapid deterioration in the days leading up to the procedure. 

David's fragile condition required hospitalization for the following 108 days. "But, he never gave up," Tina said. "Although his journey has been much longer than most transplant recipients, it has been one of many miracles."

Not only has the Shore family been deeply impacted by David's journey and his will to survive, Tina said, "but so have many people who have been in our lives in the last year." 

On Sunday, Sept. 15, the Shore family returned to their home "and to our beautiful High Country with its fresh clean air and to all of our loving family and friends who have carried us in their hearts and prayers through this difficult, but amazing time," Tina said.

The challenges are far from over as they try to adjust to their "new normal," as Tina described the lifestyle changes that David requires.

"He has many restrictions due to a suppressed immune system -- and will have for the rest of his life, but we will make it," she said. "We have a new appreciation for the miracle of life that God gives each one of us every day. I only wish this appreciation of life could be given to others without them having to go through what we have, but it is our blessing to have traveled this journey and we are forever grateful for it."

The Shores express their appreciation for the love and support they have felt from the High Country during David's illness, surgery and recovery. "We can't tell you how much it has all meant to us. There are just no words to describe it all," Tina said. 

Friends helping friends

In response to overwhelming medical bills that are quickly mounting following David's life-saving transplants and extended hospitalization, as well as necessary home repairs for a safer, healthier environment, friends and family of the Shores are hosting an afternoon of music, food, fun and fellowship, along with a silent auction, from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22, at Watauga High School in Boone.

Live entertainment, beginning at 1 p.m., will feature the Harris Brothers, Buck Haggard Band, Diana and Sarvis Ridge, the Ellison Branch Quartet  and Andy Ferrell.  

Donations may also be made to the David Shore special account at the State Employees Credit Union.