By Leean Tupper OAKRIDGER.com
CLINTON, Tenn. —
Luther John "L.J." Lively was once an avid hunter and fisherman who loved being outdoors.
Now, Lively writes on his web site, that he can't walk a few feet "without turning blue and gasping for air, even with oxygen."
"His lung capacity is about down to nothing," his daughter, Kim Martin, said this week.
"I quit smoking 28 years ago, but I worked at several factory jobs in the '60s and '70s where I was exposed to a variety of toxic chemicals and lung-damaging industrial agents," L.J. stated.
Over time, Lively's factory jobs affected his breathing to the point he now must use oxygen around-the-clock.
Now 68, he has been diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension and an enlarged heart.
Just days after being diagnosed earlier this year at Vanderbilt University, Lively and his family came home.
"They told him there was severe pulmonary damage and there was nothing they could do," Martin said.
Soon, Lively received a telephone call from a nurse who had treated him at Vanderbilt. The nurse had called some contacts at Duke University and doctors there wanted to meet with Lively.
After several tests, doctors at Duke determined Lively is eligible for a lung transplant, Martin said.
But before the transplant, Lively must complete a series of respiratory rehabilitation sessions at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.
He also must have $12,000 in the bank. That money is expected to be used to pay living expenses in North Carolina for up to four months after the transplant.
Lively, a former Clinton resident who now lives in Deer Lodge with his wife, Carolyn, travels to Oak Ridge several times a week for treatment. Other than those trips, Lively rarely leaves his home, his daughter said.
"It's hard to see him struggle," Martin said. "I'm the kind of person, I like to fix things, and this is a situation I can't fix."
But, the family is trying to raise money to help their father, husband and grandfather have a new chance at life.
A bluegrass and gospel music festival to support "Lungs for LJ" will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Little Ponderosa Zoo outside Clinton. The zoo is located at 629 Granite Road, off U.S. Highway 25W between Clinton and Lake City.
Tickets are $10 each for persons age 13 and older, and $8 for children 5 to 12. Children under age 4 will be admitted free.
The festival will feature music from The McCoys, Coal Creek, Blacksferry Road, The Fox Family, and The Victory. Music will begin at 6 p.m. and will continue until 9 p.m., Martin said.
The festival also will include a live auction at the end of the entertainment; a concession stand; face painting; and a children's craft table. The event will also feature a raffle for a 1997 Cadillac El Dorado that has approximately 180,000 miles. Tickets are $20 each and the winner will be announced Saturday night. To purchase a raffle ticket, call Martin at (865) 816-2376.
"I long to do even the simplest things and enjoy life, play with my younger grandchildren, and go hunting with my sons and sons-in-law, go fishing with old friends, and teach my grandchildren to love the outdoors as I do," Lively wrote on his Web site.
If you can't attend Saturday's bluegrass and gospel music festival, but would like to help, donations can be given to the "L.J. Lively Benefit Fund" at any branch of ORNL Federal Credit Union.
Leean Tupper can be contacted at (865) 220-5501.
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