Breathe for Shannon

I am Tammy O’Brien, my husband and I have put together this campaign for our beautiful daughter, Shannon. Shannon is an amazingly strong 23 year old, who has been battling Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension since she was diagnosed at 11 years old. She went from a well child to one with a very serious life threatening medical condition. Shannon was given a “death” sentence within a matter of a few seconds. We were instructed to start planning her funeral, since the maximal life expectancy was less than three year. Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension is a genetic disease not only affecting the lungs but also affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys. The disease progressively damages these organs, leading to difficulty breathing and heart failure. Due to the progression of the disease, Shannon has required life saving experimental surgical procedures, which causes most of Shannon’s body to turn blue and not to receive any oxygen with the intent to give oxygenated blood to her heart and brain. This keeps Shannon from unexpectedly passing out. Shannon also has an intravenous catheter, which was surgically inserted in her chest, which gives her continuous medication.
This medication helps to keep Shannon alive.

Shannon went from a little girl, who loved to run, ride bikes, and swim to one with everyday limitations, which included the inability to attend school and having a nurse with her at all times. Despite her limitations, Shannon finished school and dreams of going to college. She loves photography and wishes to continue that passion in college. She also is an avid reader. Her favorite author is Stephen King and longs to travel to his home town. She enjoys working with children and helps out at an in-home daycare when her health allows her to.

Shannon is a brave fighter, but has lost most of her lung function along with some of her heart function as well. Many of Shannon’s everyday activities are limited. Shannon is also limited as to if she can go outside and if she can what time of the day she can. Oxygen is a vital part of Shannon’s everyday life as she has to wear it in order for her to breathe effectively. She also has to carry around an IV pump, that gives her the medication which helps to keep her alive, at all times. At this point in Shannon’s life, a bilateral lung transplant and a possible heart transplant is her only option. Along with transplantation of her lungs and possible heart, she will need corrective surgery on blood vessels within her chest. This surgery is an extremely complicated one, causing our family to relocate to Durham, NC. The doctors have informed us that the transplant surgery and recovery will take about 6 months to a year. Shannon will need a caregiver dedicated to her 100% of the time, a role her father and I will gladly take on.

Shannon’s father and I have covered her medical expenses to date, however, this next step is beyond us. Relocation expenses, lost salaries, medical expenses add up fast. Money raised by this campaign will help us provide the medical care and attention that Shannon now needs.

We kindly ask for your help in helping us get Shannon her new lungs and possible heart. Your help is greatly appreciated. Please share with others.

We do not know how strong we are until STRONG is our only option.
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Tammy Obrien 
Durham, NC
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