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North River woman awaits life-saving double-lung transplant

Leeann Galloway must wear oxygen tubes to complete the most basic chores at home, or even just walk to the bathroom.
Leeann Galloway must wear oxygen tubes to complete the most basic chores at home, or even just walk to the bathroom. - Contributed
NORTH RIVER, N.S. —

Leeann Galloway knew she was in serious trouble.
She was gasping desperately for air and coughed up tar-coloured phlegm. 
Her husband, Kevin, carried her into the emergency room at Colchester East Hants Health Centre, where she spent weeks in intensive care battling a life-threatening infection.
That was six months ago, the culmination of years of lung trouble. 
“It’s been one heck of a year for us, being so young and to be honest, I’m scared to death,” said Galloway from her North River home, fighting back tears. “I don’t know what I’ll be able to look forward to. I’m sorry I’m crying, I’m so emotional, it’s so much to take in.”
She now has a GoFundMe page asking for help with anticipated medical expenses when she undergoes tests in Toronto this November, followed by surgery next year.
Galloway, 47, has suffered breathing problems the last 12 years or so. A pneumonia infection triggered her condition and without a lung transplant doctors say she has just four years to live. 
At her worst point, she dropped to 79 lbs. She struggled with lungs functioning at just 40 per cent of normal capacity, forcing her to take medical leave from work.
She now uses an oxygen tank all day at home. It helps her perform basic tasks, such as housework and baking, a hobby of hers.
Doctors have so far classified Galloway as having chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, though they don't know exactly what's wrong. 
Galloway’s late father had alpha one antitrypsin disease, a blood protein disorder that impacted his lungs and resulted in him undergoing a transplant. He passed away 18 months later. 
So far, blood and other tests have not indicated the same condition in his daughter.
“I’m deteriorating in exactly the same way as he did,” said Galloway. “I was dying.”
With an oxygen tank, Galloway has regained her weight and her heart rate has come down to a safe level, as her body is no longer consuming itself trying to breathe air.
Now weighing just over 100 lbs., Galloway is safe to receive a double-lung transplant in Toronto. She's asking the public for support to cover her travel and living expenses during her surgery and related therapy. 
Her first trip there will be in November for a consultation with nurses and the rehab team. Then she'll wait about a month for confirmation as a transplant recipient.
Galloway will make nine visits to Toronto with her husband and a support person during her surgery. She will need to live in the city for the first three months after the transplant, so doctors can monitor her progress. Even after moving home, Galloway will need to make several more visits to the city for checkups, with organ rejection an ongoing risk.
As well as her GoFundMe page, Galloway is planning a silent auction and fundraiser this fall and has reached out to local businesses for help.
Keeping her going through this trying time is the support of her husband, family and little granddaughter.
“I am incredibly scared and excited to be given a chance to get my life back at the young age of 47,” said Galloway in her letter to businesses and others wishing to help. “I just want to be able to breathe again and play with my four-year old granddaughter. I want to be able to watch her grow and share in all her milestones.” 
To make a donation for Galloway’s surgery, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/Double-lung-transplant-for-Leeann-Galloway. 
 

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