Thursday, July 22, 2010

Heart-lung transplant patient celebrates milestone with fundraising walk in Hawaii

Photo: Melissa Tait/Record staff
It's wonderful to see Dana Trude doing so well following her double-lung and heart transplant in December, 2006. I got to know her very well before and following her transplant and marveled at her determination and positive attitude to overcome the emotional and physical setbacks, such as organ rejection, she had to deal with. Since her transplant Dana has been a staunch advocate for organ and tissue donation and now with diabetes developing she's dealing with it by helping to raise money for the Diabetes Association.

By Johanna Weidner, Waterloo Region Record

KITCHENER, Ontario — Dec. 12 is a big day for Dana Trude.

That’s the day, nearly four years ago, when the Kitchener woman’s life was saved with a new heart and lungs.

This year, she’ll mark the anniversary by joining a fundraising walk for diabetes, which she likely developed as a complication of the transplant surgery and medication needed to stop her body from rejecting the organs.

“I thought, ‘What a better way to celebrate,’ ” Trude said.

After such a complicated transplant and the health problems that have followed, she knows it’s important to celebrate every milestone. Several patients who got lung transplants around the same time as Trude have not survived.

“I’ll settle for four because I don’t know if I’ll be around for five,” said Trude, who’s 49.

This December, she’ll be walking with Team Diabetes, a national fundraising program for the Canadian Diabetes Association that participates in events held in Canada and worldwide, in a 10 kilometer walking event in Hawaii.

A heart-lung transplant was Trude’s only hope when several serious conditions damaged her own organs, and put her life in jeopardy.

She was diagnosed as a young adult with a lung disorder that causes high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery. Years later, an aneurysm in her aorta was discovered, putting her at risk of a life-threatening rupture. And then she began suffering from an abnormal heart rhythm that hampered the organ’s ability to pump blood effectively.

Trude’s heart and lungs were failing her, and needed to be replaced soon.

Amazingly, the uncommon surgery at Toronto General Hospital took just five hours and Trude was back home in 11 days.

Trude thought she would enjoy a new life free of the health problems that had plagued her for half her life. She imagined walking and cycling with the two sons she had adopted with husband Sam Trude and his daughter.

Instead, she struggled with bouts of pneumonia and the threat of organ rejection in the months following surgery. Her anti-rejection medications, along with a host of other drugs including prednisone, are still closely monitored. Then she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, requiring medication.

“I was upset because it’s not something you want to hear,” Trude said. “And now I have a failing kidney.”

However, she has almost full lung capacity and was able to return to her job as a secretary about two years ago and become more active, including participating in several local fundraising walks. When she heard about the Dec. 12 walk for diabetes, Trude felt she had to join and set herself a $6,000 goal.

Far from tiring her out, a recent fundraising walk energized Trude.

“I felt like I could have walked all day.”

Find out more about Team Diabetes online at or call 1-800-226-8464. Pledges can be made to individual participants such as Trude.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
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