Double lung transplant patient wins gold at World Games

After being diagnosed with a rare and deadly disease, Genie Kilpatrick was only given a few months to live. That’s until she underwent a double lung transplant at UT Southwestern. Now, she’s going for the gold and making a name for herself in tennis at the World Transplant Games. Read story.

Transcript

[Narrator] When first meeting Genie Kilpatrick, you'll quickly find out what her passion is.

[Genie] I really, really love tennis.

[Narrator] She picked up the sport as a kid, and it became her life long profession as a high school tennis coach in Austin, Texas.

[Genie] I was the most happy on the tennis court, coaching and teaching.

[Narrator] Off the court, she traveled the world with her wife Sherry. But in her late 40's, Kilpatrick's body was making it harder to do the things she loved most.

I started feeling like I was short of breath, my heart was beating faster than normal.

[Narrator] Kilpatrick visited a local physician, and was told she had a chronic disease called pulmonary hypertension.

When you go somewhere, whether it's to school, to the grocery store, or to another state to travel, you're taking a tank of oxygen. It was always an ordeal to get out of the house.

[Narrator] Her condition worsened until she was correctly diagnosed and referred to UT Southwestern Medical Center for expert specialty care.

[Genie] It's pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis.

It's an abnormality of the blood vessels of the lungs where they grow abnormally, and they occupy a lot of areas of the lungs where they do not belong.

[Narrator] The only definitive treatment is lung transplantation. UT Southwestern's Lung Transplant Program is the largest in the state of Texas, performing 70 to 80 transplants a year.

Her advancement was very complex because her heart was so weak. when we did the double lung transplant, she was in the hospital for almost two months.

[Narrator] After a long road to recovery, Kilpatrick got back into the swing of things.

[Genie] I was fortunate enough to get to participate in the Transplant Games of America in Salt Lake City.

[Narrator] After winning gold in Utah.

Everybody wave!

[Narrator] Kilpatrick went onto the world stage in the UK. She joined more than 250 other athletes to represent the United States. The Texan took home gold in tennis.

It was just overwhelming. It was motivating. It was just inspirational.

Hey y'all.

[Genie] To be there. To be a part of that community.

[Narrator] An amazing achievement, now inspiring others.

In a patient who has lung disease, they cannot function. But they now certainly winning at World Transplant Games, it's amazing.

[Genie] Biggest thing I've learned about life in all of this is to live life to the fullest and don't waste a second.