Hello, my name is Bruce Parker and I would like to introduce myself as your AlphaNet REACH Coordinator.  My wife, Marcia, and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We don’t have any kids, but lots of wonderful nieces and nephews! We are real big on family gatherings. I have two brothers and one sister, and my wife is one of seven kids, so we spend a lot of time with family.

Prior to becoming a REACH Coordinator, I spent 35 years in the heavy truck industry. Most of that time was spent in sales of transmissions and axles for Class 8 size trucks. I covered four states, so I had to travel every week. I enjoyed the contact with my customers, which helped make the time away from home a little
easier to handle.

I love college football and am a big University of Georgia fan. In 1993, I attended a home game in Athens, Georgia and I noticed that climbing the steps of the stadium made me short of breath. That worried me, so when I returned home, I visited my doctor and told him what had happened. He sent me to a pulmonologist who tested me for Alpha-1. I had never heard of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency before, but after I was diagnosed, I read everything I could find on it. I learned about the benefits of exercise and a proper diet. Because of my hectic travel schedule, I had never taken the time to take good care of myself. Finding out I had Alpha-1 changed a lot in my life.

Following my diagnosis, I continued to do OK, but I pushed myself beyond what I knew I should do with Alpha-1. I did not take great care of myself and I became more and more short of breath. I continued to work until 2008 when I had to retire because my job required climbing in and on top of “big trucks.” I just couldn’t do it anymore. In late 2009, I developed double pneumonia and my lungs never fully recovered. At that time, I also learned my heart had been damaged due to lack of oxygen. In June of 2010, I had a heart and double lung transplant. I was blessed with this gift and now I work hard to take care of it. I have been given a second chance. My story might have been very different if I had taken care of myself with the help of a program like REACH.

Now, I start my days at 5 am with a workout. I work out four days a week with weights and try to walk at least four miles per day either outside or on a treadmill. Of course, I throw in a round of golf when I can. After my workout, I start the “best” part of my day as AlphaNet’s REACH Coordinator. It is so rewarding being able to talk to other Alphas, and I look forward to each and every call. I will call you periodically to discuss how you are doing and let you know any information I have on Alpha-1. Sometimes we feel like no one knows what we are going through with Alpha-1. We just need the comfort of talking with someone who does. If I can be of help to you, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Coordinator: Bruce Parker

Phone: (855) 876-8422

Email: REACH@alphanet.org