GLENDALE - An avid runner with a fatal lung disease got a new lease on life when tragedy struck. Now he's honoring the teenage girl whose decision helped save his life.
When Len Geiger learned that a double lung transplant was his only hope for surviving emphysema, he never dreamed the new pair of lungs would come from a teenage girl.
"I have both of her lungs inside me, her name was Korrine," he says.
Korrine committed suicide. After the lung transplant, Len reached out to Korrine's parents to thank them for saving his life by donating her organs.
"The first thing they gave me was a photo album of Korrine and it started with a baby picture. And then you see her make this transition from a little girl to a beautiful young woman. And then the photos just stopped."
Len formed a bond with Korrine's father Kevin. The new connection changed the course of their lives.
"Someone suggested that maybe we get together, and do the race together to raise awareness for organ donation and lung disease," he says.
They started running together at events to raise awareness about organ donations and lung disease.
Saturday, Len continues this mission at the American Lung Association's Respiratory Rally in Glendale.
"We realized with that ability came a level of responsibility, we needed to do more and more of this and so Kevin and I continued to do more and more road races," he says.
Korrine's parents are now working to move on with their lives. Len says -- their daughter will live on.
"I remarried and I now have a 5-year-old daughter named Eva Corrine, after the girl whose lungs I now breathe through."
Len will be reminding people to get checked for lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. He will speak at the American Lung Association's Respiratory Rally, at ASU's west campus.
ALA 2011 Respiratory Rally
Saturday, March 26, 2011
4701 W. Thunderbird
9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
$10 to register