George Carman, a volunteer firefighter from New Gloucester, sat up in bed and breathed without the help of tubes Friday, one day after receiving a double lung transplant at a hospital in New York City, said Scott Doyle, a friend and chairman of the group “New Lungs for George.”

“George has been talking. His throat is a little sore, but that is normal. His wife is saying that George is acting as if nothing happened,” Doyle wrote in an e-mail.

Carman, who has suffered from cystic fibrosis since birth, was operated on at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

When Carman was born, he was not expected to live long. He surprised the medical community, not only by surviving, but by competing in high school track and the Special Olympics. He is married and has a 12-year-old daughter.

Doyle has served on the New Gloucester Fire Department with Carman since Doyle was a teenager.

“Once you meet him, you love him. He has a great sense of humor, a great outlook on life,” Doyle said Thursday.

Doyle helped lead the organization that raised $200,000 to help Carman’s family cover expenses related to the surgery and recovery, including the cost of renting an apartment in Manhattan while he gets routine checkups during his convalescence.

Carman had been on a transplant list since the end of the summer. He had been in and out of Maine Medical Center since October.

Part of Carman’s challenge in finding a suitable donor was size. The lungs had to be about the same size as his, and Carman is 6-foot-3. They also had to have the right blood type.

It all came together Wednesday.

Carman learned Wednesday night that a pair of lungs were available for transplant, and he was scheduled for surgery the next day, Doyle said.

The transplant came just in time.

Carman’s condition worsened in the fall, and he spent more time in Maine Medical Center than he did at home.

Without the transplant, that was what he had to look forward to for the rest of his life, Doyle said.

For more information about Carman and cystic fibrosis, go to