Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick

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Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick (born July 22, 1983) is a soprano, composer and presenter. A recipient of a bilateral (double) lung transplant, she speaks and performs frequently at concerts, conferences and events around the United States.


A full lyric coloratura soprano, Tillemann-Dick has performed across the United States, Europe, and Asia in venues as diverse as The Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City; The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio; The National Symphony Hall in Budapest, Hungary; the American Embassy in Beijing, China; and the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. She collaborated or performed with noted conductors and musicians including Bruno Rigacci, Joella Jones, Marvin Hamlisch, Bono, Zoltán Kocsis, Joan Dornemann, Éva Marton, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.[1][2] Some of her operatic roles include Titania in A Mid Summer's Night Dream, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Violetta in La traviata.

Tillemann-Dick has performed for numerous presidents, prime ministers, members of Congress and world dignitaries.[3]

Health and advocacy[edit]

After receiving a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary hypertension in 2004, Tillemann-Dick served as the national spokesperson for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. In December 2005, she testified about pulmonary hypertension before the U.S. Congress' Committee on Energy and Commerce.[4]

In September 2009, Tillemann-Dick underwent a double lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. Just eight months later, she performed before the doctors, nurses, and support staff at the Clinic.[5][6][7][8]

Tillemann-Dick has since become a vocal advocate for organ donation and transplantation research in the United States. After complications from rejection, she received a second double lung transplant in January 2012.


After receiving her transplant, Tillemann-Dick presented at numerous conferences and events, including the Chicago Ideas Week, TEDMED,[9][10] TEDxMidAtlantic;[11] and the 6th Annual National Conference on Organ Donation. She is a frequent presenter and performer for corporate events, nonprofits and associations, and civic organizations. She has been featured on the CBS Morning Show,[12] CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,[13],[14] The Washington Post[15] and BBC Radio.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Tillemann-Dick was born in Denver, Colorado, the fifth of eleven children.[17] She received a bachelor's degree with high honors from Regis University and studied music at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar.[citation needed]

Tillemann-Dick is the granddaughter of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the former Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress. Her paternal grandmother, Nancy E. Dick, was the first female Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. On April 10, 2008, Tillemann-Dick's father, Timber Dick, a successful inventor and businessman from Denver, died from injuries received in car accident.[18]


Tillemann-Dick is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[19]


  • Tillemann-Dick, Charity (2017). The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1501102311.


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed November 9, 2014.
  2. ^ Secretary of state takes stage for Lantos' granddaughter/Rice accompanies young soprano battling rare disease,; accessed November 9, 2014.]
  3. ^ President Sarkozy diner Appeal of Conscience Foundation (YouTube); accessed November 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Testimony before U.S. Congress Archived April 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed November 8, 2014.
  5. ^ Double-lung transplant patient to perform opera at Cleveland Clinic summit (video),; accessed November 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "Young opera singer diagnosed with life-threatening lung disorder sings for her doctors" Archived November 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed November 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Profile Archived May 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed November 9, 2014.
  8. ^ "Soprano serenades doctors after lung transplant",; accessed November 9, 2014.
  9. ^ Soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick Gets Lung Transplant,; accessed November 9, 2014.
  10. ^ TEDMED: Soprano and Double-Lung Transplant Recipient Charity Tillemann-Dick - Health Blog,; accessed November 9, 2014.
  11. ^ TEDxMidAtlantic profile; accessed November 9, 2014.
  12. ^ "Woman sings anew after 2nd double lung transplant",; accessed November 8, 2014.
  13. ^ "A Tale of Two Transplants",; accessed November 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "Charity Tillemann-Dick singing after a double lung transplant",; accessed November 9, 2014.
  15. ^ "Singing opera with someone else's lungs",, May 24, 2013; accessed November 9, 2014.
  16. ^ Soprano Who Had Two Lung Transplants - Outlook at BBC World Service
  17. ^ Denver's Own Royal Tenenbaums - Page 1, -; accessed November 9, 2014.
  18. ^ "Denver inventor Timber Dick dies after crash", The Denver Post; accessed November 9, 2014.
  19. ^ "Mormons don't eat meat?",, July 2009; accessed November 9, 2014.

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