When she was 21, Joy spent 12 hours on the operating table undergoing a double-lung transplant. Cystic fibrosis had destroyed her own lungs. She struggled to catch her breath while lying in her hospital bed. Her weight dropped to 72 pounds. She was close to death, and she knew it.

UNC researchers are working to help cystic fibrosis patients such as Joy. One—Joy’s transplant surgeon, Tom Egan—is searching for ways to make sure others can get the lungs they need before it’s too late.

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