Double Lung Transplant Fund for Tonya Vidas

For those of you who know my mom, Tonya Vidas, you know what an incredibly strong woman she is.  In 2016, my mom started noticing difficultly breathing and shortness of breath with everyday activities. Through two years of countless doctors’ visits, her condition worsened and she was finally diagnosed in 2018. Specialists at The University of Florida were able to diagnose my mom with a severe case of Bronchiolitis Obliterans: a rare, degenerative, inflammatory condition that affects the lung's tiniest airways, the bronchioles. The bronchioles become damaged and inflamed leading to extensive scarring that completely blocks the airways. She has been rapidly losing lung function since, and her disease is now considered end-stage.

My mom has required oxygen for over 3 years now, and the disease has progressed to the point where oxygen support is no longer enough.  It’s difficult to see my mom, who has been the main caretaker for our family, not be able to do so many of the things that she used to.  Things as simple as walking up stairs, carrying our 2 year old sister, or walking across a room without struggling have become nearly impossible.  Even basic self care, such as showering and brushing her teeth, is arduous. A common cold would send her to the hospital.

This condition has no cure and the damage cannot be reversed.  Her only treatment and chance for survival at this point is a double lung transplant.  She has completed her week-long transplant evaluation (aka “hell week” as they say!), and the doctors have said the time is now—she cannot wait any longer. A double lung transplant is an extremely risky procedure with a long recovery period. She and my dad, Alex, will have to stay full-time in Gainesville for several months following the transplant, in close proximity to the UF Health Shands Hospital, while the rest of our family remains in Orlando.  My dad will be her full-time caretaker. No one's transplant recovery is the same, and there is great potential for complications requiring extended hospital stays, inpatient rehab, or readmission. There are so many hidden costs such as temporary lodging, gas, food, parking and then the obvious medical costs of surgery, hospitalization, rehab, ongoing testing, and post transplant care living. Some of these expenses will be lifelong, such as the several prescription medications she will be required to take. Our hope is that this fund will support whatever is not covered by insurance and will help with the expenses while in recovery, including relocation funds.

We are all hoping for a successful transplant and recovery, though we know the road ahead is not going to be easy or quick. My mom has never been comfortable asking for help, though she has always been willing to help and care for those around her.  For her to open up about her health and reach out for help, I know she is at a point where this is her only hope. It has been heartbreaking to watch as this disease has stopped our mom from living life as her full, vibrant self.  It’s still a shock to watch as she loses her breath while talking to us or suffers a coughing fit. She is the center of our family—we all love her so much and want to do whatever we can to help her. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.


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Amalea Vidas 
Davenport, FL
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