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After double lung transplant, stroke, Charlotte dad recovers to walk daughter down aisle

Posted June 16

— Most young brides dream of their father walking them down the aisle at their wedding.

A Charlotte pastor recovering from a double lung transplant wasn't sure he would get that chance.

Tim Cox, a 59-year-old pastor from Charlotte, was in the hospital when he learned his daughter was getting married. He said the news spurred him on toward recovery.

"They got engaged when I was in the hospital," Cox said. "They called, and up until then our target date, (that was) the thing that kept me going."

Cox's journey started in 2014 when he learned he had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which meant his lungs were filled with scar tissue.

Medications failed, so he was put on a waiting list at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic.

"At that point he was quite, quite short of breath and was even having difficulty performing daily activities of living on his own," said the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Marie Budev.

Six months later, Cox got the lung transplant he had been waiting for, but the journey was not over—10 days after the transplant, he suffered a stroke.

"My whole right side was paralyzed, and I just didn't believe it," Cox said.

Cox was determined to walk his daughter down the aisle, so he underwent rigorous physical therapy.

Another 10 months went by, and he was ready.

"I was able to experience what dads—one of your highlights, and my highlight of walking your daughter down the aisle, and it was not a dry eye, basically," Cox said.

Without his donor lungs, Cox's walk wouldn't have been possible, a fact not lost on his family.

"They burned a candle up front on the stage that burned in loving memory in appreciation for our donor family," Cox said.

He's spent a year recovering in the Cleveland Clinic, but now, Cox and his wife are ready to move on.

"Tim's future looks bright," Cox's wife said. "I'm so happy to say, we're excited because he's going to be returning home."

This Father's Day, Cox said he has already received the greatest gift and now looks forward to spending time with his children and grandchildren.

"Whatever happens, I know it's going to happen for my best, but we just don't take life for granted and the specialness of life. Wow."

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