Tim Sweeney’s Story: From Lung Transplant to NYC Marathon

Last November, Joshua R. Sonett, MD, Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, joined patient Timothy Sweeney in running the NYC marathon. Dr. Sonett performed Timothy’s double lung transplant surgery less than a year before after complications of cystic fibrosis had reduced his lung function to 20%.

The pair completed the marathon in 6 hours, 48 minutes, enjoying the race immensely and feeling strong. They stopped for about 20 minutes at mile 16 to visit with Dr. Sonett’s family, and again at the finish line to visit with Timothy’s family. “We were not in a rush, we were not competing with anyone,” says Timothy, a 33-year-old father and personal trainer. “It was an amazing, incredible experience. It felt like a 26.2-mile standing ovation, and Dr. Sonett was my biggest cheerleader,” he says.

“My transplant was so successful that I never once felt my lungs during the race,” says Timothy. “The only thing I felt were my legs.”