Tisa Walker-Alderete

“The scariest is waiting for a transplant. The scariest is not the transplant itself.”

When you meet Tisa Walker-Alderete, a double lung transplant recipient and Cystic Fibrosis survivor, it’s difficult to believe there was ever a time when she wasn’t able to walk 50 feet on a level surface. But, thanks to the generosity of a donor she considers a hero, she is back to doing the things she never imagined she could do again. For instance, for the last four years, she has participated in the American Lung Association’s annual “Fight for Air Climb” fundraiser which consists of climbing 32 stories – or 657 steps – to the top of San Diego’s tallest building. “My legs are what slow me down now,” she laughs.

Plus, after being on disability since the age of 19, Tisa is in school working towards a career in the medical field, and she volunteers her time to speak to high school students about the importance of organ and tissue donation. “I have lost countless friends who were waiting for a transplant… it became too late for them. I do not want anyone else to die waiting. One tragedy can create life for many, many people.”

As for her anonymous donor, Tisa says, “Part of her is still alive, and she has given me so much life every day. I am forever grateful to her and to the person who convinced her to check the ‘Donor’ box.”

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