Luke Maeding plays video games at home recently while nurse Tina Wida keeps track of his condition. The 8-year-old has an infusion site in his chest to get medication and constantly receives oxygen from nearby tanks.
Express-Times Photo / MATT SMITH
Luke Maeding wants to do what other 8-year-olds do -- go to summer camp and play basketball.
But his body doesn't let him. Tubes tether the boy, who celebrates his ninth birthday Thursday, to a pair of silver canisters in the kitchen of his Upper Nazareth Township home. They're his lungs.
Luke suffered children's interstitial lung disease when he was born 14 weeks premature to a mother who abandoned him, and his body is outgrowing his stunted lungs. He needs a double-lung transplant that will cost $75,000 more than his parents' health insurance will pay.
Luke is one of six children in Glen and Heather Maeding's family. Three, including Luke, are adopted. A seventh sibling is due to be born in September. The Maedings met two of their adopted children while volunteering in Haiti.
And of course, there's nurse Tina Wida, who cares for Luke eight to 10 hours a day.
"His life is dictated by his medical routine," Heather Maeding said. "Sometimes he just gets tired and he tells me, 'I don’t want to do this anymore.'"
Learn about Luke's wait for a lifesaving call in Tony Nauroth's report: Double-lung-transplant candidate Luke Maeding, 8, battles disease in virtual reality and in the real world.
Click here to learn about fundraisers aiming to help the Maedings pay for Luke's lung transplant.
“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: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help 75 to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You