Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Luke Maeding, 8, awaits double-lung transplant

Transplant will cost $75,000 more than his parent's health insurance will pay

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

lehighvalleylive.com, Pennsylvania

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.

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