Wall Of Life - Mark - Fifty Lives

Tissue Recipient

As a young boy Mark found himself like most other children his age, extremely active and always running around. Right around the age of 12, he began to experience pain in his right hip. Over time the pain increased, causing him to compensate by limping. Mark’s parents took him to his family doctor, who thought he may be suffering pain due to his femur slipping. The doctor thought that perhaps placing a pin in his hip would help to hold his femur in place. Mark was sent to the hospital to get some x-rays taken before any big decisions were made. What was meant to be a routine trip for x-rays, actually turned out to be an admission to the hospital.

The x-ray revealed a grapefruit sized growth located at the epiphysis on Mark’s right femur. He was immediately admitted to the hospital for additional testing, a biopsy and subsequent surgery. After the tumor was removed, the surgeon used a bone graft to repair the femur. In the late 1970s, it was still a very experimental procedure, as the bone was used from a donor that would have to combine to form new bone that was thought to maybe not ever be as strong as the original. Thankfully, the test results on the tumor were benign.

Mark was on crutches and underwent physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. Even after the therapy, his doctors warned him that he would most likely continue to have some pain and possibly walk with an abnormal stride. They also told him that he could never play contact sports, with the fear of dislocating his femur or seriously injuring his surgically repaired leg.

In the years following his surgery, Mark held himself back from strenuous physical activity such as running and playing sports, which was tough because Mark loved being active. Finally, Mark was so fed up with his inability to compete athletically that one day he got out and simply started walking which quickly turned into short jogs and eventual long distance runs!

For the first time in years, Mark returned to the physical activity that he loved so much and despite the doctor’s warnings, he felt great! Since that first run, Mark has continued running and has competed in over 15 marathons, six triathlons as well as Half Iron Man and Iron Man events. With no signs of letting up, he plans to resume his training in early spring to compete once again in the Louisville Iron Man slated for the fall of 2015.

Mark’s physician was completely surprised after a recent visit by how active Mark has been able to be after his groundbreaking procedure so many years ago. After all of these years, Mark has been able to maintain a very active lifestyle and that all was made possible through the life changing gift of tissue donation!