Napa man competes in Transplant Games of America
NAPA, Calif. (KTVU) - A Napa man who survived a double-lung transplant is back home after competing in the Transplant Games of America, but to look at him you'd never know the battles he's face.
"I was born with Cystic fibrosis in 1977, initially the prognoses was that I would not live to see my fourth birthday," says transplant recipient Matt De Fina.
At 38, De Fina is stronger than most people. Through the year's he's grown used to living with Cystic Fibrosis, a disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system, but that didn't stop.
That is until four years ago when he had a major setback. "I was told that I only had two years left to live unless I got a double-lung transplant. That was in April in 2012," says De Fina.
Fast forward to now, where pulling his truck is part of his training. Last month De Fina took part in the games in Cleveland, which are open to people who've received or donated organs. More than 1,500 people participated. After competing in four sports, De Fina came home with seven medals and a lot of memories.
"Talk about warriors, talk about toughness. These people know how to battle. These people know how to push themselves to the limits," says De Fina. He says his faith and his family are his inspiration. Next year the World Transplant Games will be held in Spain, where De Fina plans to compete.
"I've got my sights set on Spain. I even created the hashtag train for Spain," says De Fina. Besides being dedicated to the games De Fina is committed to giving back. A portion of each bottle sold from his wine label goes to Cystic fibrosis research. "We've been doing this about three years. So far to date we've given back roughly $45,000 and we're incredibly proud of that and that's something we will continue to do," says De Fina.
He says his lungs have declined a little bit since his transplant. De Fina says doctors told him he may need another one in the future. But for now he's living his life one day at a time.