PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If Lethia Everette were your relative, you might find her predicament hard to believe, let alone accept.
She needs a double lung transplant. Right now.
She’s at UPMC Presbyterian, medically cleared for a transplant, her own lungs failing. But they say for now, she won’t be considered for one because she doesn’t have enough money.
“Got me down to where I’m not able to do anything for myself,” Lethia says.
Lethia’s illness was too complex for hospitals in her native North Carolina, so she’s come to UPMC to wait for a life-saving transplant that might never come.
“I would characterize this as a crisis,” said Dr. Jonathan D’Cunha, of UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. “She’s an in-patient here because her lungs are failing.”
She has an auto-immune disease that causes her body to attack her own lungs. So, as soon as a set of donor lungs become available, she’ll be rushed in for that life-saving transplant, right?
Lethia has insurance. But that’s just part of the puzzle.
“But I still gotta raise so much money so that I can make sure I get the necessary things that I need afterwards,” she says.
She’s been told she needs to come up with $40,000 to pay for all the support she’ll require before she’ll be listed for a transplant.
“Medically, she is cleared to have the surgery,” says Dr. D’Cunha. “Her current burden is her financial situation and her insurance status to support the operation and the cost associated with that.”
Her husband, Ervin, has taken a leave from work to be with her here, so that’s another challenge – no income at the moment.
But through the YouCaring website, they’re seeking donations.
If you’d like to donate to her fund on the YouCaring website, click here: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/lungs-for-lethia/305928
And somehow, Lethia is staying strong.
“I just want to thank everybody in advance for your support if you can, if not continue to lift me up in prayer, and I thank you again for everything,” Lethia says.
Lethia says she looks forward to getting back to her career in social work, her church, and her family – she and Ervin have two boys.