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Our Story

Geoffrey (pictured left above) was born in 1983, and at the time, he wasn’t expected to live past high school. He has cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic disease that damages his lungs and makes it very difficult for him to breathe, digest his food, and keep his blood sugar in check. But, oh boy, he's really shown his CF who's boss.

He received new lungs in August 2018 at age 34. At the time, he was still working in a job he’s held for almost 20 years, he was living on his own, and he was able to travel to see his family across the country. Then, doctors successfully switched out his ailing lungs with those from a generous, anonymous donor. Geoffrey counts himself as one of the lucky ones.

Geoffrey’s journey to this point has not been easy. His disease irreparably damaged his pancreas, and in 2001, he was diagnosed with diabetes. After going away at college for the first time the next year, his blood sugar skyrocketed to 400% of the normal level and he landed in the ER. In 2012, Ge...

Featured Post

A Small Hiccup...


When we first learned about lung transplants, we couldn't help but fawn over the positive effects it would have on Geoffrey’s life. Fortunately, he’s been experiencing all the benefits we expected, and more: he’s not hacking and coughing anymore. He can walk long distances, climb stairs, a...

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Stella's Journal: 22

Stella here.  It’s been six months since Geoffrey’s transplant, and he’s doing great!  He’s living on his own, jogging a tiny bit, driving, and not coughing hardly at all.  Even I, the epicenter of rage and fangs, am delighted with his Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 21

Stella here.  Geoffrey is living with Audrey and Andrew, and his recovery is going great!  I can’t wait to move back in with him. I heard that he moved to a new place closer to the hospital, so I’ll have to find a few Stella-only spots once I Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 20

Stella here.  Geoffrey is getting out of the hospital today!  He’ll be staying at Audrey and Andrew’s house for a while.  I found out that Ben is helping set up Geoffrey’s room in their house so that he feels right at home….well, Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 19

Stella here.  I heard Geoffrey is doing really well now.  He's not in so much pain, and he has started to walk around the hospital floor a little bit.  He is so brave.  I think Geoffrey knows I miss him because he sent over a bag of my favorite Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 18

Stella here.  Geoffrey left the ICU today and was transferred to a normal room!  I heard that he is still in enormous amounts of pain, but at least he is stable enough to have a normal room with a bathroom door that closes.  I think he likes that Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 17

Stella here.  Geoffrey’s surgery went great!  My dear human has two new lungs now, thanks to an amazing organ donor and his fantastic team of doctors and nurses.  He’s in a lot of pain and still in the ICU, but he’s awake, breathing on his Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 16

Stella here.  Geoffrey is in surgery now.  It's finally happening!  My favorite human is getting new lungs today!!  My temporary caretakers reported that he watched Star Wars, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Seinfeld up until they transported him to Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 15

Stella here.  Geoffrey always says, “You can never be mad at this little punim.”  And it’s true, I really do have an adorable little face. It’s great because it makes it harder for Dana and Ben to get mad when I vindictively leave smelly Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 14

Stella here.  I can’t believe Geoffrey is still waiting for new lungs.  He really needs them soon since the bottom of his left lung has completely stopped working.  He was coughing up blood last I heard, and recently spent three weeks in the Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 13

Stella here.  Geoffrey has this cool device that continuously measures his blood sugar levels.  He has diabetes, so it’s really important for him to watch how much sugar he eats and control how much insulin he takes.  I like to keep an eye on Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 12

Stella here.  My dear human, Geoffrey, is back in the hospital.  He’s had some exacerbations related to cystic fibrosis, and started coughing up lots of blood.  I usually sit with him when he coughs to provide moral support, but now I can’t Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 11

Stella here.  I’m really hoping Geoffrey will come visit me soon.  He’s my favorite human and I’d like to check on him to make sure he’s doing ok.  No new lungs yet, but hopefully soon. Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 10

Stella here.  Hulking-out at the moment.  Dana and Ben got a foster cat.  He’s staying with us until someone adopts him into their family.  I’m perplexed that none of my growling or hissing has scared him in the slightest.   S’mores Continue Reading »

What Cystic Fibrosis Does to the Body

With all the problems cystic fibrosis causes, you'd think the disease itself is caused by some major genetic malfuntion. But in reality, all cystic fibrosis symptoms stem from a single mutation in one gene called CFTR. How does a malfunction in Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 9

Stella here.  Geoffrey is still waiting for new lungs, and I really hope he gets them soon.  He'll feel better and I'll be able to go home to him sooner.  I have a lot to say about temporarily living with the wrong humans, and I want them to know Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 8

Stella here.  Last week, Dana and Ben took me to meet the beagle.  In case you are curious, a beagle is basically a large cat who is bad at jumping and has a big nose.   Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 7

Stella here.  Two weeks ago, this lady showed up at my apartment.  She was talking about Star Wars and Legos, so I thought she might be a friend of Geoffrey’s.  Geoffrey loves Star Wars so much that he has built several characters and ships Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 6

Stella here.  My interim human servants have informed me that they’re taking a two-week hiatus from typing out my eloquent dictation for my journal.  Lazy bums. Too bad they haven’t picked up any of my Stell-ar qualities.  After all, I am a Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 5

Stella here.  Big news! The “Soup Nazi” from Seinfeld emailed Geoffrey some get well wishes!  As the one who watches Seinfeld most often with Geoffrey, I can tell you that this is one of his favorite characters.  “No soup for you!” is Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 4

Stella here.  We recently learned that living with a cat can be harmful for people who have had transplants.  Major airplane ears to that! Transplant patients are immunosuppressed so that they don’t reject their new organs.  Apparently the Continue Reading »

A Quick Detour from the Transplant List

Geoffrey landed in the hospital the other week due to a case of pneumonia in his left lung. Don't worry, he's out now! Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 3

Stella Bella here.  That's Geoffrey's nickname for me.  I think I was meant to be an only cat, and Geoffrey totally knows that.  That’s why there’s only one of me! I’m not so sure about living with another cat while he’s in the hospital. Continue Reading »

Where is Your Money Going?

The beauty of working with COTA to raise money is that 100% of your donation will assist with transplant-related expenses. But unless you’re familiar with organ transplants, you probably don’t have a clear conception of what exactly Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 2

Stella here.  My beloved human, Geoffrey, has pneumonia, which means that he has to come off the lung transplant list for a few days until it clears up.  Ben and Dana are playing Seinfeld episodes to try and make me feel at home, but it’s just Continue Reading »

What Will A Transplant Mean For Geoff?

Today, Geoffrey’s been on the transplant list for a month, which is the average amount of time a patient spends on the lung transplant list in Chicago. What will a transplant mean for Geoffrey's health and well-being? Continue Reading »

Stella's Journal: 1

Hi everyone.  I’m Stella, Geoffrey’s cat.  More accurately, Geoffrey is my human.  He rescued me four years ago after I was found abandoned in an alley in a garbage bag.  Geoffrey is the best! He welcomed me into his home and fed me lots of Continue Reading »

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Geoffrey’s arrival on the double lung transplant list comes as a result of his cystic fibrosis (often called "CF"). Continue Reading »

Geoffrey is Out of the ICU!

A surgeon flew to a newly passed organ donor, oversaw final compatibility testing, flew back with the lungs, tested them again, joined a lead surgeon and a team of nurses and other doctors in the OR, cut my brother open, removed his lungs and Continue Reading »