Darryl PriceDarryl Price - 5 years post-transplant

Darryl Price had barely been sick a day in his life when, at age 52, he was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. After doing some research on the internet, he asked his doctor flat out, “Am I going to die?”

The Denville resident had a successful career as a software engineer. He had recently returned to college to finish his bachelor’s degree. In his spare time, he traveled and played competitive tennis. Now, he was being told he suffered from a fatal condition and would need a double-lung transplant to survive.

During his time waiting, Darryl remained positive and kept busy. He took up photography and videography, and volunteered at a food pantry in Morristown. Staying active helped him get through this difficult period and he encourages transplant patients to not stop living while waiting.

“Don’t disappear from the world,” he says. “Whatever you are interested in—learning a language, playing an instrument, traveling—don’t let the doubts and setbacks keep you from doing these things.”

The outlook for Darryl was grim in the months before his life-saving transplant surgery on June 24, 2016. Once he received his second chance at life, he immediately began setting new goals, telling his medical team that he wanted to be running by the time he finished rehabilitation and playing tennis within six months of returning home. It was also important for him to recover his independence, assuring his wife he would ask for help when he needed it.

At 57, Darryl is living life to the fullest. He earns money through freelance coding projects and videography gigs. He participates in running events and shares his story as a volunteer for NJ Sharing Network.

He’s also brushing up on his Japanese. Later this year, Darryl plans on spending three weeks touring Japan, where he once lived and worked but wishes he had spent more time exploring. His goal is to create a travelogue and perhaps spark an appetite for adventure in others.

Darryl admits there have been bumps in the road. Health setbacks have left him feeling discouraged. “You deal with it,” he says, “and you try to see every day as a new opportunity.”

He has given much thought to what it means to “honor the gift.” Personal achievement? Making the most of your second chance at life? Yes and yes. But his definition has evolved. “Honoring the gift also means being the best version of yourself that you can; to inspire and encourage those who sorely need inspiration and encouragement. It means being known not so much for the gift you have received as for the love and kindness you show others.”