A dear friend of mine, Gregory Blake, a.k.a. Snooze, died yesterday at the age of 37. He endured a long battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (see also: 1, 2), which left him weak and uncomfortable just about all of the time.

On April 14th, 2005, after years of waiting, Gregory finally got himself a new lung! It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was tough going there for a while. But he was strong. He kept pushing on. A year ago today, this is what he posted in his blog:

Hot Damn – Just now I made it up the stairs from the first to the second floor without using my cane. I never thought I’d be so excited by stairs. The lung is working great still, every bit of exercise makes me feel a bit stronger. My next goal is to be able to walk around the block by the end of the month.

and just six months later:

It’s the little things – Earlier today I paused midstep as I was jogging up the stairs and thought “Holy Fuck, I just jogged up the stairs. Cool!

The following April, right around his one year (re)birthday, Greg posted about how he was going to be going back into the hospital for surgery to fix his acid reflux issues.

I’m actually not that nervous about it. Maybe having surgery as major as a transplant makes one a little jaded.

Then, on May 18th, he went in for the stomach surgery. His system had trouble adjusting after the surgery. They had to put him on an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxegenation) machine to oxygenate his blood for him. Things were touch and go for a couple of weeks, but he wasn’t able to pull through. He passed away on the afternoon of May 5th. It is a sad, sad day for people who knew him. Greg will be dearly missed.

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