Dear Family and Friends,
As some of you may know, Lee was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in April 2008, and his condition has continued to deteriorate over time. The disease robs the body of its ability to breathe – it is a slow suffocation. Consequently, last fall Lee had to start using oxygen 24/7. The reality is that this disease will continue to rob Lee of his life and now, his only real chance of survival is a lung transplant.
In his prime, Lee loved hiking, biking and daily early morning two mile walks with his Labrador retriever, Sprocket. Additionally, Lee was active in the local music community as both a performer and organizer of shows to benefit the county animal shelter. These are the things he would most like to return to when he receives his gift of life – his new lungs.
After Lee was diagnosed at Duke in April 2008, he underwent several evaluations and each time he was deemed to be too high risk to be a candidate for transplant. However, Lee never gave up – that is when he heard about the high risk program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. UPMC has successfully transplanted lung patients with various esophagus problems similar to Lee’s. After UPMC evaluations in August 2011, Lee was placed on the active transplant waiting list.
Even with insurance, Lee will have many uninsured transplant-related expenses, such as: co-pays and deductibles, doctor visits, travel and temporary relocation to the Pittsburgh area, and the costly immunosuppressant medications that he will need to take for the rest of his life. This presents a financial challenge we cannot meet alone.
To help with these expenses, a fundraising campaign in Lee’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive. HelpHOPELive is a nonprofit that has been assisting the transplant community for more than 28 years. All donations are tax-deductible and are administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only. Please consider making a contribution:Your financial gifts will be greatly appreciated and help us through this difficult time.
All our love,
Leslie Cantu (Lee’s wife)
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February 16, 2012
Hi, Lee congrats on the new lungs! I'm Ethan's mother, and we met quite a few years ago. I hear from E. that you need a Nissen Fundoplication. Coincidentally I'm having one this spring in GSO. Good luck. We'll have to compare notes on that one.
Marilouise Mattson, Syracuse, NY
February 12, 2012
Lee, thinking and praying for you and family. Sherry & Lee Cotnam
Sherry Cotnam/Belmont NC
January 21, 2012
Thinking about you both and have added you to my family's prayer chain. It stretches from here to the west coast. Justin arrived back home in the early hours this morning from a week of training in Chicago; once he catches up on sleep I'm sure he will be in touch.
Chriss Buckner. Burlington, NC
January 20, 2012
Good Luck! Here's hoping, and praying, all goes well.