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Organ Recipient Sails Around the World.

When 71-year-old Ardell Lien of Caledonia, Minn., sailed into San Diego last week, he entered history as the first heart and kidney transplant recipient to have sailed solo around the world, completing a 17 1/2-month voyage that covered 31,310 nautical miles.

Lien had suffered from congestive heart failure for 15 years before he was hospitalized and ended up on life support in October 2002. On January 2, 2003, he received a heart and kidney transplant at the Mayo Clinic. Two weeks later, he began planning his trip, partly to raise awareness for organ donation.

Lien set sail from San Diego on May 5, 2005, on his 27-foot boat and traveled to Hawaii, then to American Samoa, to Fiji, to Australia, around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope, through the Panama Canal, back to Hawaii and returned to the placid waters of San Diego Bay. He stopped at 19 ports and visited Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, where he met nine heart transplant patients.

Upon returning to San Diego, he hugged his wife of 44 years, Maureen, and greeted a large group of friends, doctors, nurses, organ donors and organ recipients who cheered his arrival and his accomplishment.

Lien's cardiologist, Dr. Brooks Edwards, the medical director of transplantation at Mayo, told the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper he had tears in his eyes as he watched his patient dock. He said that at one time the retired father of three was so sick he "looked like a cancer patient" and had trouble getting dressed. Today, Edwards said, Lien is the picture of health and an inspiration to all transplant patients.

"This is what's possible after transplant. This is a story of remarkable human triumph," Edwards said, adding "This guy has the right stuff."
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Publication:Transplant News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:297
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