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Meridian woman awaits lung transplant

By By Kelly Quackenbush/The Meridian Star
April 29, 2001
Lisa Young Allen, 32, of Meridian is awaiting a double lung transplant and reaching out to the community for help.
Allen was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 16 months old. Even though she was in and out of the hospital several times a year, she led a fairly normal life until about a year ago.
She cannot water ski, camp or travel anymore. She takes 15-25 pills a day. She has to be on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day and have breathing treatments four times a day. The breathing treatments involve a special vest that drains her lungs of thick mucus.
Allen is fifth on a waiting list for a double lung transplant. She carries a pager that will let her know when a pair of lungs becomes available. After the pager goes off, she has two hours to travel to the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
After her surgery, Allen will be in the hospital for at least two weeks and will have to stay within five minutes of the Birmingham hospital for three months or more.
She and her husband, Les, have been married for 12 years. They have two children, a son and a daughter. She is the daughter of Pete and Kay Furline and the late Buddy Young. Her mother will be staying with her during the three-month recovery in Birmingham.
The operation will cost $250,000 and the medicine will cost $32,000 a year. While most of this cost will be covered by Allen's insurance, the three-month stay in Birmingham will not be covered.
Mother and daughter will have to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel during the recovery period. Allen is seeking donations to help pay her living expenses during the recovery period.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting about 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. It causes the body to produce an abnormally thick, sticky mucus due to faulty transport of sodium and chloride (salt) within cells lining organs such as the lungs and pancreas.
The disease has a variety of symptoms including salty-tasting skin, persistent coughing, wheezing or pneumonia and poor weight gain. It is hereditary and both parents must be carriers of the faulty gene to pass the disease on to a child.
Kelly Quackenbush is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail her at kquackenbush@themeridianstar.com.

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