Our sister Sharon has been living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) since 2010. IPF is a type of lung disease that results in scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs for an unknown reason. Over time, the scarring gets worse and becomes harder to breathe. Sharon is now at a point where under any slight amount of exertion her lungs are unable to take in enough oxygen. Therefore she has been on Oxygen full time since April, 2016.
Since being diagnosed Sharon has asked about a transplant but was told it was too soon. When her lungs got progressively worse she once again asked about a transplant and was told that she would not qualify because of her Weight, Diabetes, and her Age.
A Nurse Manager who has been working on her case suggested she ask for a referral to the transplant doctor in Halifax, NS. Sharon met with the transplant Doctor in March of 2016; and was told that her Diabetes was not a factor, nor was her age. The main obstacle in her way was her weight, (she had to get down to a BMI of 32). (This meant she had to lose 144 pounds). As insurmountable as that may seem, she decided to take her weight loss 5 pounds at a time. With a lot of guidance by her Dietitian, her family doctor, the encouragement and support of her family and friends in twenty-two months she has accomplished her Transplant weight loss goal of 144 lbs.
The reason the family are setting up the GoFundMe page is because Sharon is living on a single disiability income. She needs to raise funds for airfare, apartment rental, transportation fees and other living expenses for her stay. She also needs to set up Support People before going to Toronto for 4 days of testing, hopefully in February or March. Once given the go ahead for the transplant Sharon will have to move to Toronto as the transplant will be done at Toronto General Hospital. This could take months or up to 2 years. Since Sharon has Type O Negative blood she can only accept lungs from the same blood type donor.
Brief note from Sharon:
I have always tried to be a good person whether it was by volunteering for Rape Crisis Line, other community organizations, Vice-President of Student Council while attending Compu College, etc. I believe in giving back and accepting everyone. I have always tried to be a positive person, and to build others up, whether with a smile, a hug, a kind word, or lending an ear. I was often told as a child that I was stubborn, now I cherish that trait but chose to call it tenaciousness. I am just trying to live, to fight for a healthy future with my family and friends. I have to keep my weight to a BMI of 32, and to do lots of exercises to make myself healthy enough for surgery. I will need to work hard at rehabilitation afterwards will need to go back and forth to Toronto for up to 2 years after the transplant.