The magic inside a milestone – The VOICE


Kirk Menefee.

Milestone member shares how he became and continues to be a walking miracle

By Rachel Porter
Photos of Kathryn Harrington

Kirk Menefee, member of the Milestone Wellness Center, understands the power of a healthy lifestyle firsthand. In 2016, Menefee was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a serious and incurable lung disease. Thanks to organ donation he was able to undergo a double lung transplant in 2019. We spoke with Menefee to talk about his health journey and how Milestone played a role in his recovery.

When did you first get into fitness?

My father died when I was 27 of a sudden heart attack at the age of 57. So I decided to change my lifestyle and get into cardiovascular fitness. I am a marathoner, golfer and long distance swimmer. I joined Milestone in 2008.

How has Milestone been a part of your life and supported you throughout your transplant experience?

Milestone is a spectacular setup with all the bells and whistles, but the main thing that initially intrigued me was the pool. However, I cannot ignore my two fabulous coaches, Alison Cardoza and Miranda Mercke. Without them both, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What was it like working with new lungs for the first time in Milestone?

The first time I returned to Milestone was October 2, 2020. It had been a little over two years since I had been in the water and it was fantastic! I remember walking up to the pool and feeling very apprehensive about my lungs. I pushed off the wall and stroked slowly. I expected fatigue and I did not feel anything. So I picked up the pace and in the third round, I knew my donor had given me something special. I cried while swimming to the end of the lane and started screaming. That day, I did a mile, 142 lengths of the pool, without stopping.

What are some of your future health goals?

Next year I’m going to San Diego to compete in the Transplant Games of America in swimming and golf. When it gets closer to the games, I’ll be working on the interval techniques and my shots with Miranda. I want this to give people hope and a reason not to give up. There are about 114,000 Americans on an organ waiting list, but you have to have the strength to get one. I never thought running and swimming before would help me, but it comes in handy when you go through something like this.

Baptist Health / Milestone Wellness Center
750 Cypress Station Dr.
Louisville, Kentucky 40207

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