Fawn's 10 year Lungaversary
- By: Fawn Kruger
- Short URL: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/fawns-10-year-lungaversary
- Date Created: 7 February 2023
R 21 000
R 100 000
Celebrating A Decade With Transplanted Lungs 🫁
Fawn Kruger is a seemingly typical 35 year old woman living in Johannesburg. She is married, has 4 pets, owns her own business and socialises frequently with her friends. What makes Fawn different is that 10 years ago both her lungs were removed and replaced with a stranger's lungs in an effort to save her life. Fawn was born with a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis. This degenerative illness is a lifelong burden that requires non-stop invasive treatment. The disease affects various organs but the most life threatening is the lungs which are filled with a thick sticky mucus that slowly kills off the lungs until the patient cannot breathe anymore.
“It’s like having a constant bronchitis infection every day of your life - it’s exhausting and painful.” Fawn says.
The F508del Cystic Fibrosis mutation affects 86.4% and the G542X affects 4.6% of all mutations. Most patients have 2 F508del genes but Fawn has 1 of the F508del and 1 G542X gene which is a far more severe mutation to treat.
Fawn was born in Zimbabwe and was diagnosed with ‘CF’ when she was 1 years old. Her daily treatments were a combination of digestive enzymes with every meal and nebulising twice a day with chest physio. By the time she was 13 years old every 3 months she was spending 2 weeks in hospital having Intravenous antibiotics. This was hugely disruptive to her life and her lungs were only getting worse. Fawn spent over 700 days in hospital prior to her transplant.
“I couldn’t plan anything with my friends because I never knew how I would be feeling by the time the date would come around. I missed so many special occasions because I was either in hospital or just not well enough to attend.”
Eventually her lungs deteriorated to a point where she could no longer breathe without being connected to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day.
“I’d take the oxygen tubing off to wash my face and my lips would immediately start going blue and I felt light headed”.
She had an oxygen tube in her nose, a feeding tube surgically inserted into her stomach, an insulin machine attached to her and her portacath in her neck to allow for vein access for medication. At this point she was listed for a double lung transplant.
In March 2013 Fawn was told they had found a match for her and she could finally have the surgery to replace her lungs. The 8 hour procedure left her in hospital for 3 months recovering from a number of complications. Once she was discharged from hospital it took Fawn about a year to build up the mental and physical strength she had lost over the years. From there it was up and up as she enjoyed doing things she could never do with her ‘original’ lungs.
“I’ve had so many firsts over the last 10 years and I’m so grateful to my donor for giving me a chance to truly experience life for the first time”.
Fawn is one of only 22 patients in South Africa who have survived a lung transplant for 10 or more years.
Every year Fawn celebrates her ‘Lungaversary’ and this year is no different. She plans to invite all her friends, family and some of her medical team to join her as she commemorates the occasion.
Fawn co-founded TELL in as a way to increase the number of transplants that take place in SA.
"One of the hardest parts of this disease is losing friends who didn't get a transplant in time." She says.
She has asked all her guests to make a donation to TELL in lieu of gifts at her 10 year Lungaversary party. Her goal is to raise R100 000 to assist TELL in their continued efforts to educate both the public and medical professionals about organ donation, as well as providing patients with support.
Who is TELL?
TELL (Transplant Education for Living Legacies) was established in November 2018. Two of the three founders, Alice & Fawn, are double lung transplant recipients, and are therefore in a unique position to make a contribution to the transplant community. Stella has since joined the team and is currently on the waiting list for a kidney. She brings perspective from a patient who has been on the waiting list since 2012. Most of TELL’s volunteers are either waiting for a transplant or have received a transplant. Through awareness campaigns and education initiatives, they aim to lead the conversation surrounding organ and tissue donation in South Africa.
They are a registered Non-Profit Organisation (#219-134NPO) and a Public Benefit Organisation (930069136).
- Mar 11, 2023 - R 1 340.00 Fees covered
- "Your story is so inspiring Fawn! What an amazing woman and inspiration you are!" - Anonymous
- Mar 07, 2023 - R 250.00 Fees covered
- "Congratulations on your lungaversary x" - Viv
- Mar 05, 2023 - USD $ 59.56 Fees covered
- "Happy anniversary my special friend" - Ashleigh van der Riet
- Mar 05, 2023 - R 1 500.00 Fees covered
- "Happy LUNGAVERSARY Fawny!!! xxx" - James Plummer
- Mar 04, 2023 - R 1 000.00 Fees covered
- "You are a hero to many Fawny! Keep doing what you doing! Xx" - Siân
- Mar 04, 2023 - R 500.00
- "So glad we got to share this special day with you ️ " - Kyle & Levash
- Mar 04, 2023 - R 1 000.00
- "Happy lungaversary Fawny!" - SJ
- Mar 04, 2023 - R 360.00 Fees covered
- "Huge congrats on this amazing milestone. You are an inspiration to me and to so many others. I am privileged to know you. " - Aviva
- Mar 01, 2023 - USD $ 11.79 Fees covered
- "Happy Lungaversary! " - Anonymous
- Feb 28, 2023 - R 1 000.00 Fees covered
- "Forever grateful to your incredible donor !! We are so blessed to have you in our lives!!" - Pippa Hauptfleisch
- Feb 22, 2023 - R 300.00 Fees covered
- "Happy 10 year Lungaversary my special friend <3 Look forward to celebrating - Love Lau xxx" - Lauri Hansen <3
- Feb 13, 2023 - USD $ 94.84
- "Happy Lungaversary Fawn! Sending so much love xx" - Michelle & Curtis
- Feb 10, 2023 - R 1 000.00 Fees covered
- "Happy Lung-aversary and to many more" - Grant and Laura
- Feb 09, 2023 - R 4 100.00
- "Live strong and inspire" - Reinhardt
- Feb 09, 2023 - R 200.00 Fees covered
- "I wish you all the best" - Litha Sabio
- Feb 09, 2023 - R 5 000.00 Fees covered
- "All the best " - Sandy Irvine
- Feb 08, 2023 - R 500.00
- "Happy lung-aversary! To many more!" - Leigh Crymble
- Feb 07, 2023 - R 200.00 Fees covered
- "Fawn, you are a super star! You are living your best live with the second pair of lungs and making a major impact on the transplant community!" - Stella de Kock
Transplant Education for Living Legacies
TELL (Transplant Education for Living Legacies) was established in November 2018 to increase awareness and support of organ and tissue donation within the South African community. TELL's goal is to help educate both potential donors as well as medical healthcare professionals, and break the stigma and misinformation around organ and tissue donation. TELL's mission is to end the waiting list by changing and leading the conversation around organ and tissue donation in South Africa.
Because the most important part of organ and tissue donation, is conversation.