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Joyce Smith said. She had a second chance at life. She knew she had the second chance and she was lucky to have that. For much of her earlier life in Massachusetts, Mellady was hobbled by a mysterious lung condition. Then, in her late 30s, she tested positive foralpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder. The inherited condition predisposes people to lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the emphysema Mellady developed before her transplant. The condition is caused by a lack of a protein in the blood called alpha-1 antitrypsin, which protects the lungs from inflammation. When Melladys lungs were replaced in 2007, doctors at theCleveland Clinicsaid they were among the worst they had ever seen, functioning at 15 percent of capacity. Over the next 13 years, Mellady served as an inspiration for other patients about to undergo similar transplants, a source of support for their relatives and a wealth of information for doctors studying her condition. She ended up living more than twice as long on her new lungs as the average 6.3 years for lung transplant patients. Dr. Marie Budev, the medical director of Cleveland Clinics lung and heart-lung transplant program, oversaw Melladys care and said Marie Budev was the first person from the program who died of COVID-19 and second to test positive. In this December 2016 photo provided by Joyce Smith, Joanne Mellady and Joyce Smith dog Oscar sled down the driveway of Joyce Smith home in Washington, N.H. Mellady, who received a double lung transplant in 2007, died of the coronavirus on March 30, 2020. Joyce Smith was 67. That scared Budev because transplant recipients are seen as particularly vulnerable to the virus because of the drugs they take that suppress their immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections. Five other people who have had lungs transplanted by the clinic have been infected by the virus and one more has has died. Marie Budev said Melladys death was devastating because she had become a testament to the possibilities of how to live life to the fullest after receiving an organ transplant. Marie Budev knew this was a lease on life that Marie Budev had gotten, Marie Budev said. Mellady participated in several research projects in Boston related to Marie Budev condition and was active in groups looking for a cure for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and who supportedorgan donation. Marie Budev was just blooming with excitement to help others and help the field of medicine especially transplantation.

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