Thursday, June 04, 2009

Trust fund established for woman waiting for lung transplant

I've been corresponding with the Dunham's for quite some time about their efforts to get Jenny on the waiting list for a lung transplant in Toronto and their concerns about the huge living expenses facing them. It's great to see that they are starting to get some financial assistance.

By Cathy Johnson The Shelburne County Coast Guard

A trust fund has been established to help a Shelburne (Nova Scotia) couple who are living in Toronto while waiting for a double lung transplant.

Phillip and Jenny Dunham began their journey of hope on April 30, packing up and leaving their Shelburne home for a chance at a second lease on life.

Jenny, who is diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), has had to live on oxygen 24/7 for the past three years.

While waiting for the transplant, which could take up to a year, the couple must reside near Toronto General Hospital, where the surgery will take place.

Word of the Dunham’s plight has prompted local residents to make donations and to hold fundraisers in support of the couple, said Rev. Joanne McFadden, pastor at the Trinity United Church in Shelburne.

Several events have already been held, with more in the works, including a musical night at the Trinity United Church during the summer, with the half of the proceeds going to the Dunhams.

McFadden said the Shelburne County Ministerial Association is also discussing other ways they can help the couple.

In the meantime donations to the trust fund can be made at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Shelburne branch.

As for the Dunhams, they are settling in to a routine of hospital visits and physio appointments, which takes up most of their time.

“That is why we are here, to get Jenny well again,” wrote Phil in an email to friend and neighbor Rose Pigout.

“The Toronto General Hospital is truly an amazing place and is in the forefront of transplant surgery in the world,” he added. “We are lucky to have this facility in Canada even if we had to leave Nova Scotia for a lung transplant.”

After the Dunhams have been in Toronto for three months the couple can apply for up to $1,500 per month to help with rental expenses from the provincial Department of Health.

In the meantime, they’ll be footing the bill themselves, along with support from the community.

“We do appreciate your care and concern,” said Dunham in his email. “It helps to know there are kind souls who care.”

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