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Joni has had severe asthma for most of her life, and then 10 years ago she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease known as rheumatoid arthritis. The medications for both of these diseases reduce the immune system, and this caused Joni to contract a microbacterium infection of the lungs. Treating this infection took nearly 2 years and while that was ongoing the RA could not be treated, in turn the RA then attacked her lungs. In 2017 her Pulmonary Doctor recommended her for lung transplant. Because of insurance issues she could not go to the only transplant center in her home state of Missouri. She applied and was accepted to the transplant program at Loyola in Illinois on the condition that she relocate near the center while listed, and until cleared after transplant. She received a bilateral lung transplant on Nov. 5th, 2019.
Recently home after spending nearly a year living away from her husband and home, Joni has been working through the major recovery fueled by gratitude and the drive to make the most of the precious opportunity. She hopes to honor the life and family of her donor. One of the ways she strives to do so is by pouring into the next generation. Joni adores her many grandchildren and is extremely grateful for each day she can use her gifts and abilities to pour creativity, joy, gratitude, and a love of learning into each one. In addition to supporting her grandchildren, Joni is excited to move forward in her recovery, exploring her lifelong hobbies and interests with her newfound ability to breathe. She enjoys hula hooping, upcycling crafts (bringing new life to things that might otherwise have been thrown away), crocheting, writing in her gratitude journal, and creating new recipes for her family. As her health had progressively deteriorated prior to her double lung transplant, Joni fought her way to continue life joyfully with her family by her side–thanks to her lifesaving transplant, she is discovering new abilities daily and looks forward to seeing how God will use her new lungs to help her breathe new life into the world around her. She is grateful for any help that she might receive to meet the practical realities of having a double lung transplant from traveling the 400 miles to Loyola for frequent doctor visits, pulmonary rehab, anti rejection meds and other medications and medical equipment to maintain health after transplant, co-pays, deductibles, and frequent lab tests which are not covered by insurance. Also because Joni needed a 24 hr. caretaker after her month stay in the hospital her wonderful husband Mike went to Illinois to be that caretaker; having to take leave from his job for more than 3 months as well as finance 2 residences during that time. Please consider donating to help Joni manage the difficult realities of physical therapy, hospital bills, travel expenses of continued out of state doctor’s appointments.Family and friends of Joni Johnston are raising money for the nonprofit Help Hope Live to fund uninsured medical expenses associated with transplantation.

Joni has chosen to fundraise for Help Hope Live in part because Help Hope Live assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for contributors. Contributors can be sure donations will be used to pay or reimburse medical and related expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation to this fundraising campaign, click on the Give button.

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