And, he was saluted like a hero as he left New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
It was the kind of salute usually reserved for heroes and most at the FDNY would say Martin Fullam qualifies.
Martin Fullam says he is grateful.
"I just want to say thank you to everybody. This is not a road you take on your own," said Fullam.
Fullam was among the first responders at ground zero on September 11th. As a result of exposure to the dust and other toxins, the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program confirmed that he developed a life-threatening lung disease.
"Pulimonary fibrosis does not respond well to medication and therefore the prognosis is death without a lung transplant" said David Prezant, the FDNY's chief medical officer.
Doctors at New York-Presbyterian Hospital performed the successful surgery several weeks ago, and today posed with their recovering patient and his family -- anxious to have him back home.
"Seeing him walk around and be able to do what he use to do in the past, or at least most of it anyway, that's gonna be great, " said David Fullam, Martin's brother.
So, to the sounds of bagpipes and applause, the 56 year old rolled out of the hospital in a wheelchair, knowing his road to recovery won't be short or easy--but grateful to be able to take the journey.
"I truly am the luckiest man in the world," said Fullam
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