"Trina will soon have to undergo an online interview at The Moncton Hospital with staff at Toronto General Hospital. She will then have to go to Toronto for a wide assortment of tests"
Melissa Rushton often stares at her niece and shakes her head in amazement.
Leah, who turns five next month, is a spinning ball of energy from dawn until bedtime and sometimes beyond. She just started kindergarten at Gunningsville School in Riverview, and it's a good thing because her mother Trina Murray needs those few hours each day just to catch her breath.
Melissa and Trina are sisters. Melissa said yesterday that Leah behaves just like Trina did when she was five-years-old.
"They are the same way -- go, go, go all of the time and I don't know how they do it," Melissa said. "Leah keeps Trina running most of the time. It takes its toll sometimes."
Five years ago, Trina became the first cystic fibrosis sufferer to give birth at The Moncton Hospital. A few months ago, she learned she's going to need a double lung transplant in order to survive.
"In some ways, it's been hard for Trina to see her little girl go to school this year," Melissa said.
"They are always together so it's hard to say goodbye. In another way, it gives her a badly needed break. It's a difficult situation with Trina needing the transplant. The little girl needs her mother."
Trina has had chronic lung infections and pneumonia and she has experienced other breathing difficulties in recent years. Her lungs are not functioning well and her overall condition is in decline.
"She gets winded and she's not able to do much physical activity at all," Melissa said. "Just walking can be difficult sometimes."
Trina will soon have to undergo an online interview at The Moncton Hospital with staff at Toronto General Hospital. She will then have to go to Toronto for a wide assortment of tests.
Officials in Toronto will then tell her when she must move to the Ontario capital so she can be put on a list for the double lung transplant.
"Anyone waiting for this kind of transplant must be within two hours of the hospital or it can't be done on time," Melissa said. "Unfortunately, Toronto is the closest hospital that does this operation."
The process is long, heart-wrenching and expensive.
The family is attempting to raise money to cover the costs of flying Trina to Toronto and her accommodations there. They also hope to send Leah up to Toronto several times so she can be with her mother.
"A lot of people in Albert County are telling us they are going to help because that's where she grew up and that's where most of us still live," Melissa said.
"The people at the (Dawson Settlement) church have helped and the Alma church has donated $200 and a painting for us to sell or put in a basket. We want to have some bake sales, raffles, barbecues, pancake breakfasts or whatever it takes.
"It's hard for us because we've never really done this before. We've got to make this work so Trina can have the operation that's going to save her life."
Anyone looking to assist in fundraising is asked to contact Melissa by e-mail at email@example.com
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