A new set of lungs: Joanne Cormier
Joanne Cormier, a double-lung transplant recipient from Willingdon, Alta., says her life has already changed for the better since receiving her new lungs. She’s grateful to her lung donor and to the Lung Association for providing her with much needed support.
She can now breathe easier. “There are no words to describe my thankfulness (to the lung donor’s family),”said Cormier. “What do you say to someone for that great of a gift? A thank you is just not enough.”
The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT, offers some financial support to those out-of-town patients and their caregivers who, like Cormier, have to spend long months before, during, and after their surgeries in Edmonton.
“I was given a $1,000 grant, and the Lung Association gave me $600 to help pay for my rent in outpatient residence, and I was given $200 in food and $200 in gas so I can get back and forth,” said Cormier. “This took a weight off my shoulders.”
After her life-saving transplant, Cormier is relieved that she no longer has a large bottle of oxygen attached to her 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
“I feel great — I feel 100 per cent better than I did before,” said Cormier who battled with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for four years leading up to her surgery in April 28, 2014.
COPD is an illness that slowly damages a patient’s airways — breathing tubes that carry air in and out of their lungs. The illness causes those airways to swell along with causing mucus to block those airways. COPD also damages tiny air sacs at the tips of those airways, which makes breathing extremely difficult.
The mother of two says her illness was caused after working as a waitress and bartender in a smoke-filled bar for more than 30 years.
Cormier says she is looking forward to playing darts again — something that she couldn’t do before the surgery — along with doing some gardening.