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Author Topic: Interfaith Services Director Makes Plea for Lung Donors for Daughter  (Read 5002 times)

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Offline Karol

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Interfaith Services Director Makes Plea for Lung Donors for Daughter
Suzanne Stewart Pohlman says her daughter will not survive unless two living donors are found who are willing to share one of their lung lobes.
By Hoa Quách | Email the author | March 9, 2011

After successfully dealing with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis for 40 years, Katrina Bischoff-Howell is now wired to a bipap machine in the intensive care unit at UC San Diego Medical Center - Thornton Hospital..

And her mother, Suzanne Stewart Pohlman, the executive director of the nonprofit Interfaith Community Services which serves Poway, is making a plea for help. If Katrina, or Katie as she is called by friends and family, receives two lung lobes—one each from two different donors—she could survive.

"She's such a remarkable person," Suzanne said. "Donors are urgently needed, and I really hope people step up."

Katrina, who was born with cystic fibrosis, has been able to cope with the genetic disease for her 40 years of existence. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that can cause various physical disabilities and more commonly affects breathing.

She's considered one of the lucky ones to those familiar with the disease. Katrina's sister Miranda died at 7 as a result of the same disorder. But Katrina continues to fight with the help of respiratory treatments and "a handful of pills every day," said sister Tamara Pohlman-Chow.

But now, the Carlsbad resident, who graduated from San Francisco State University in 1997 with a bachelor's in international relations and has volunteered with a number of nonprofits, has been in the hospital since last Friday and cannot survive without the bipap machine.

"She's in the ICU and the only thing that is stabilizing her is the bipap machine," Chow said.

Though she's been on the transplant list for almost a year, that list only includes people who agreed to donate their organs when they die. The family is now making a plea for living donors. Two different donors are needed to donate one of their five lobes. With the two donated lobes transplanted into Katrina, the lobes can develop into lungs.

Family members, who have stayed in the hospital with her since she's been admitted, are hopeful that Katrina will receive the same transplant Katrina's husband received in 2005. Philip Howell, who met Katrina at a cystic fibrosis camp, received a double lung transplant when it became his last hope and can now live for up to 25 more years.

"If Katrina doesn't have the same transplant, she will not survive," Chow said.

And while the family makes a plea for donors for Katrina, Suzanne said she hopes her daughter's story will encourage others to volunteer for the general donor list.

"It's just so sad that there's a lack of response to the need for organ transplants," Suzanne said. "It's such a simple and easy thing to do to register to donate and it only takes a few seconds. It would help a whole lot of people. If someone cannot donate a live lobe to my daughter, they can donate something else to someone else."

But she is thankful for the people who have attempted to donate so far.

"My daughter and I are humbled by the outpouring of support from the community," she said. "I'm so amazed."

For now, the family continues to "pray" for donors.

"It's critical," Chow said. "She cannot leave the hospital and we don't know how long the bipap is going to keep her sustained. She just needs the transplant. We have the technology to save her life, just not the lungs."

Interested donors must be nonsmokers, between the age of 18-55, healthy, 5' 9" or taller with Type A and O blood type. Call 760-579-8275. Potential donors will be evaluated and informed of how a donation would affect them. For information on transplantation, visit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The family has also created a Facebook page to promote Katrina's needs and created a video. See it here. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-needs-a-lung-donor-NOW/145660315497555

Daughter Jenna is 31 years old and was on dialysis.
7/17 She received a kidney from a living donor.
Please email us: kidney4jenna@gmail.com
Facebook for Jenna: https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
~ We are forever grateful to her 1st donor Patrice, who gave her 7 years of health and freedom


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