What turns a diehard USC fan into someone who is slowly turning their entire wardrobe into blue and gold?
A chance at life after being diagnosed with an uncurable disease.
Ed Guthrie grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley starting from 1962, going to Saugus Elementary School, Placerita Junior High School and Hart High School.
For 16 years Guthrie and his siblings lived and worked at the train depot.
As Guthrie worked, he watched trains full of lumber, chemicals, cattle and people go by.
He fell in love with the railroad. Forty-five years later his love for trains and the railroads continue to chug on.
Guthrie’s career led him to becoming a union heavy equipment operator and then a union business agent for Operating Engineers Local 12.
He finally hung up his hat in 2013 and entered retirement by becoming an active member of the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge.
One thing still continued to call for Guthrie – the open roads of traveling.
Guthrie and his wife Kellie sold their home in Castaic, purchased an RV and began a life of traveling.
However, one thing halted their years and years of plans.
In the summer of 2022, Guthrie began finding himself short of breath. A couple months later in December, he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis – an uncurable disease.
Mayoclinic.org defines pulmonary fibrosis as, “a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred.” The thickened, stiff tissue makes the lungs’ functions difficult.
“It was really scary for us,” said Kellie.
Gutherie became dependent on oxygen, administered the highest level one can get while at home.
“The oxygen was not enough,” said Toni Murray, Kellie’s sister. “It was getting to the point where he was just struggling immensely, so they called the doctor at UCLA and in the middle of June and he said, ‘You need to get to a UCLA emergency room right now.’”
Kellie, Toni and her husband dropped everything, coming from both Washington and Arizona in RVs to be by Guthrie’s side.
Guthrie’s battle with pulmonary fibrosis led him to be told by doctors that he would need a single lung transplant.
During surgery, the surgeon realized the severity of Guthrie’s disease. Guthrie’s heart had become strained to continue making his lungs work.
The surgery could not be continued unless it was a double lung transplant.
Guthrie got his spot on the donors list and did whatever he could to remain on it. Staying healthy enough to go into surgery, but still in a state of need.
“We had many, many days and nights of spending the night at the hospital, driving back and forth, not sure if you make it through the night,” said Kellie.
After many days of waiting, Guthrie finally received his own pair of lungs.
“The double lung transplant, there were many, many times that he almost did not make it,” said Kellie. “The doctors said he was touch-and-go there for a while.”
Guthrie is currently in the recovery process, having spent two weeks at the intensive care unit on life support. Once he is done, he will move on to physical therapy and work toward walking again.
“Honestly if the surgery wouldn’t have happened when it did, I don’t think he would have made it another week,” said Kellie.
Kellie said that Guthrie used to be a diehard USC fan. Even though throughout his medical journey he kept the “fight on” attitude, the gratitude for all that UCLA Health has done for him now has him on the search for UCLA crocs to add to his new UCLA merchandise collection.
His hope now is to persevere and get back to his two favorite hobbies – fishing and golf.
Guthrie’s medical journey is now something that will be prolonged for the rest of his life and has placed a significant bump in the road, both emotionally and financially. Kellie and Murray have started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Guthrie’s medical bills as well as the cost for all of them having to relocate. Those interested in donating can do so at tinyurl.com/4spdj2es.