A young Alamance County woman born with cystic fibrosis is celebrating the gift of life. In October, she received her second lung transplant in five years, and she’s ready to pursue her dreams.
Last year, Nicole Graziano sang on the NBC “Today” show and shared her story about being born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to form in the lungs and intestines. It can also damage other organs.
She had a lung transplant at Duke Hospital in 2007. Then last summer, at 22 years old, her body started rejecting the first set of donor's lungs. She and her parents hoped for a second miracle - another donor - before time ran out.
“I don't know whether I would have been here this Christmas,” she said.
It took eight weeks, but the call came Oct. 31.
“It's an absolute miracle,” her father, Frank Graziano, said.
Despite growing up with cystic fibrosis and all the medications and the daily therapies, Nicole still pursued her dreams of a Broadway career.
“I think the moment I hit the stage or start singing, before my first transplant, it's like I didn't have CF at all,” she said.
She thought her dreams - and her life - might be coming to an end until her second miracle transplant
“And now, at the end of the year, I've got a whole new lease on life,” she said.
Her priority is her health and building up strength, and then the sky's the limit.
“I'll do some auditions and get into some shows and live my life,” Nicole said. “My dream is to be on Broadway.”
She her parents know none of it would be possible without people willing to donate their organs.
“They do nobody any good taking them with you, but they will save a life or many lives down the road,” Frank said.
The Graziano family is working through Carolina Donor Services to request a meeting with the donor's family.