The doctors knew something was wrong the moment Deborah was born.

She wasn’t breathing well and had to be immediately put in an incubator. A few weeks after being discharged from the hospital, Deborah had to return for more tests. You can’t imagine the anguish her mother felt seeing her newborn child struggling to breathe. Deborah was sent home again with little understanding of what was causing her breathing difficulties.

At home, Deborah would feel well for two to three weeks but then get a high fever and have to take another round of antibiotics. It seemed like an endless cycle. In the coming years, she would continue to get lung infections and be admitted to the hospital regularly with pneumonia.

At 14, Deborah was finally diagnosed with Bronchiectasis – a rare but chronic lung condition where the airways that connect your windpipe to your lungs are thickened from inflammation and infection, resulting in mucus build-up. While it was good to have a diagnosis, since there was no cure for her disease, life didn’t change much. Deborah continued to have frequent infections that would result in repeated hospitalization.

Bronchiectasis impacted all areas of my life, but I am the type of person who wants to do everything. I love to travel, play sports, and be active. I try to be as “normal” as possible.

Life eventually got better. Medications improved, and hospital visits were less frequent. Then, in a remarkable turn of events, Deborah found a
job where she could dedicate her work to the fight against lung disease.

I love Deborah’s story. She is a determined fighter. She won her battle and is now helping other families win theirs.

I am sharing this story with you to inspire your renewed commitment to families in Alberta who are facing the ordeal of their lives. Fighting to survive diseases like Lung Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma, COPD, and Bronchiectasis is challenging enough. But when finances run low because you can’t work or you need a vital piece of expensive medical equipment, that struggle intensifies immensely.

Alberta Lung is the organization families impacted by lung disease call when they need help. We answer the call for those struggling financially to access medications, equipment and even groceries. Children receive inhaler devices to ensure medicine for their lungs is delivered properly and CPAP machines to help them breathe through the night. Our Breathe Smart program educates teenagers on the impact poor lung practices have on their health.

For some people, a lung transplant is the last option for survival. Patients across western Canada come to the University of Alberta Hospital for a transplant. They are required to stay with a caregiver near the hospital for up to one year following their transplant. This can be a significant financial burden to those already coping with their lung disease. Alberta Lung provides much-needed patient support to help alleviate some of these pressures.

We wouldn’t be able to offer these programs without your generosity.