Algoma University Student Hopes for New Lungs (Again)

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Less than two years after her lung transplant, Lindsay Wonnacott’s lung function has hit a new low at 16%. She should be studying for her final exams, and dreaming about hiking trips with her boyfriend, but instead Wonnacott is waiting to hear if she will be put back on the transplant list. She is only 23 years old.

“My lung transplant was early June 2016, and recovery went very well,” said Wonnacott, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 11 months old. “I was out of the hospital within 2 weeks. Before the transplant my lowest lung function was 17%, and by my one year anniversary my lung function was 72%! It was wonderful… I was able to participate in jujitsu & kickboxing classes at Steel City MMA, I was working out with a personal trainer, and hiking was my favourite summertime activity.”

Wonnacott was also enjoying being back at Algoma University, studying Psychology and Law.

At her 18 month assessment in December 2017, Wonnacott’s lung function had dropped sharply, down approximately 20%. After the usual rounds of tests, no rejection, bacterial, fungal, or viral infection was found. Even high dose steroids and antibiotics didn’t stop her continued lung function decline.

“It’s devastating to be back on oxygen and relying on others again for so much,” said Wonnacott. “And it’s also frustrating because the doctors don’t know what caused my lung function to drop.”

Wonnacott had to abandon her university classes in January, as she said: “It was just too much.”

She was told by one anesthesiologist that “redo” transplants aren’t all that uncommon. Wonnacott is currently waiting to hear back from the hospital with the decision as to whether they will add her to the transplant list or not. “It is taking longer to find out this time if I made the list, and I am declining faster,” said Wonnacott.”It’s not easy to deal with. Luckily I am surrounded by love and support.”

Her family and the community have again rallied and are having a benefit to support her relocation to the GTA. The pasta dinner with raffle prizes is being held on Saturday, May 12th, at the Echo Bay Elks Lodge from 3-7pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from family members, including her sister Nicole who can be reached at 705-257-2688.

“No one should have to go through this once, let alone twice, but she’s a fighter,” said her mother Melonie, who will again be moving to the GTA with her daughter as her support person.

Having a support person there with her and being within a 2.5 hour distance from the transplant hospital are both requirements to be added to the transplant list.

A fundraising page has been set up to help defray the costs of the relocation, as the travel grant only covers a portion of the costs. They have so far raised $4,520 towards their goal of $15,000 at https://www.youcaring.com/lindsaywonnacott-1094078.

“I am ready to fight this fight and get my life back!” Wonnacott said.