Aries Stead is a 39 year old woman in need of a double lung transplant. She has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and Pulmonary Fibrosis. Aries' lungs have deteriorated to a severe end stage emphysemic state.
Pulmonary hypertension is defined as high blood pressure in the lungs, it's a chronic and life altering disease that left untreated can lead to heart failure and Pulmonary fibrosis is the formation or development of fibrous connective tissue in the lungs (lung scarring). Conditions that very few people ever hear about unless of course they or someone they love are living with them .
For years Aries was misdiagnosed by doctor after doctor as having Asthma or Bronchitis and sent home with antibiotics and inhalers. A year ago, after ending up in the hospital, again, a doctor described her lungs as looking like Swiss cheese. She laughed but not because it was funny.
A year from her diagnosis and she is still just trying to get on the transplant list. A year of jumping through hoops for the transplant board, a year of being poked and prodded, a year of fear and doubt. Not knowing what comes next or even how long she can continue the battle. It's mentally and emotionally exhausting to think, "ok, I've done everything that has been asked of me", only to be told , "Oh but there is this one more thing." The latest is to lose 25 pounds without the benefit of exercise. (update: This goal has now been met as well)
The insurance only covers so much of the expenses that are being incurred. Three week stays in hospital, clearance by a battalion of doctors that run the gamut from the eyes down, as well as thousands of dollars in dental work (to fix damage done by steroids she was put on to help her breathe). $350+ a month in prescription and Dr co-pays. Dollars that have come out of pocket.
She continues to get up every morning and go to work. Sometimes she can still work up the energy and breath to get on stage and sing with her band. Because it brings her joy, because life is too short not too. Because she gets it, that every breath is meant to be savored, every moment a memory waiting to be cherished.
She still needs help, this amazingly strong warrior woman. As part of the terms of the transplant board she has to maintain a certain amount of money for her medical bills and after transplant care. Please help her reach her goal and see to it that she can see her son get married one day, maybe see grandchildren, maybe sing again, maybe teach other transplant patients how to play the harmonica!
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