Local man plays golf for first time in 10 years after double lung transplant

Bryan Parker tees off for the first time in a decade (Courtesy: WLOS)

On September 11, 2016, Bryan Parker received a double-lung-transplant. Parker may not have made it to this weekend in 2017 without the surgery.

News 13 checked in with Bryan at a fundraiser he held at Reems Creek Golf Club. Although the event was held on what turned out to be a rainy day, the weather didn't dampen the spirits of golfers participating in the fundraiser.

"There are a lot of good things about Bryan. A double lung transplant is hard to go through," Curtis Erickson said at the fundraiser.

Everybody who was playing came for Bryan. It was a day he looked forward to for more than a year.

"That was just one of my goals, as far as like if we're around next year, I'm going to plan to do it," Parker said.

Notice he said "if."

"Yeah, there was a lot of it," said Shirley Parker, Bryan's mom.

Bryan has Cystic Fibrosis. The disease usually infects the lungs and limits people's abilities to breathe. When News 13 crews followed Bryan for six months in 2016, having an oxygen tank was the difference between life and death. He could survive only five minutes without it.

"I said, 'No son, you're not dying.' We're not going to let that happen," Shirley Parker, Bryan's mom, said in June 2016.

"The bad days, they're pretty bad," Bryan told News 13 back in 2016.

We watched as Bryan worried and waited for a lung transplant.

"If he doesn't, it won't be good," Shirley said at the time.

On September 10, 2016, Bryan got a call from Chapel Hill. He had 15 minutes to leave, and head towards surgery and a new life. WLOS captured the moment in the operating room and moments after.

"Congratulations! It's a new birthday, a new beginning," a nurse told Shirley after Bryan's transplant was successful.

Since then, Bryan has been able to breathe better than he could in years and move freely.

"I think the thing that I like the best is his laugh that he has now. I think it's a different laugh. It's a new laugh. It's very sincere, and you can just hear that joy in his laughter. He's really enjoying life now," Shirley said.

When Bryan held a golf fundraiser in 2016, he could only show up. This year, he came to play.

"This is something I've been amped-up for," Bryan said.

He last played golf a decade ago. When Bryan stepped up to the tee on the first hole, no amount of rain was going to ruin his round. He drove the ball long and straight.

For Bryan, the aim stays the same. Even if it doesn't always sink in, look at things on the bright side.

"You have to take the rain with the sunshine," Shirley said.

Even though Bryan has new lungs, he still has Cystic Fibrosis. Right now, there isn't a cure for the disease, which means other organs are at risk of becoming infected.

Bryan and his family continue to raise money for medical expenses. They plan to have a celebration and fundraiser for the one year anniversary of his transplant in October, because Bryan has appointments this month for a one-year check up. They will gather October 7 at 6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn at 275 Smokey Park Highway. More information will be posted here.

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