A Second Wind: An Opera Singer Hits the High Notes After Two Double-Lung Transplants

Oct 24, 2017

The Cleveland Clinic is holding its annual Medical Innovation Summit this week. One speaker who took the stage is soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick. She received two double-lung transplants at the Clinic and has gone on to perform across the United States, Europe and Asia.

"What's next?" That's what went through Tillemann-Dick's mind after she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. 

"What does this mean for my career, for my family, for my voice? It's a big question that we all should actually ask most days of the week." 

An initial double-lung transplant in 2009 gave Tilleman-Dick a short window to perform and raise awareness for pulmonary hypertension until a second transplant was needed in 2011. Though her body had began to reject the transplanted organs, she said she did not lose hope. 

"Since I had done it once, I was confident I would be able to sing again." 

Through both her surgeries at the Cleveland Clinic, the Washington D.C. resident and her family spent a lot of time in the city. 

Tillemann-Dick said it was an emotional experience taking the stage for the 2017 Medical Innovation Summit. 

"It was wonderful to be surrounded and to share with so many people who have directly or indirectly been involved with my life." 

Her memoir "The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts," was released earlier this month.