New lungs, new hope
Cindi Macphee faces tens of thousands in medical and travel costs
Breathing oxygen from a tube, Cindi Macphee looked toward her snow-covered driveway as she pondered the future.
is month, the 57-year-old will leave her Onslow Mountain home for Toronto, where she hopes a double-lung transplant will free her of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder that leaves her gasping for air.
“I’m nervous,” said Macphee. “Very nervous, very scared. Even though there’s a good success rate, if I leave this driveway, I may not come back.”
The family urgently needs thousands of dollars to cover medication, travel expenses and accommodation in Toronto, where Macphee will stay for at least a year as she recovers from her transplant.
e Macphees have set up a GoFundme account to raise money for their medical expenses, with more than $6,000 collected so far. Friends and neighbours are recycling bottles and handing their refunds over to help pay for the travel costs.
A donations box will also be displayed at the Macquarries Pharmasave on Truro’s Esplanade Street.
eir needs are all the greater as Macphee’s husband, Daniel, was recently diagnosed with stage-one kidney cancer. His health insurance has run out but he also hopes to have his treatment in Toronto.
“It’s overwhelming, to say the least,” said Macphee’s daughter, Cynthia Milligan. “I’m doing everything I can to try and raise money. Going from one parent being sick to two, it’s crazy.”
An unfurnished apartment in Toronto will cost Macphee $1,700 per month, while a furnished unit could be up to $3,000. e rent will not include parking nor utility bills. In the meantime, they will have to keep up their mortgage payments back in Nova Scotia.
The bottled oxygen Macphee uses to help her breathe costs another $290 per month, not to mention her prescription drugs.
All told, her COPD will cost an estimated $25,000 to $30,000 to deal with. Macphee, her husband and Milligan have all had to leave their jobs as a result.
For those people who say Canadian health care is free, Macphee’s reply was blunt.
“No – that is not true,” she said. e family must be in Toronto by Jan. 21 to start preparing for MacPhee’s lung transplant.
Before her surgery, she must undergo intensive physiotherapy to help her regain as much health as possible. Macphee will also undergo a battery of medical tests.
She will have her surgery as soon as a set of lungs becomes available.
After the surgery, Macphee will remain in Toronto, as doctors make sure her new lungs are working properly, and her body does not reject them.
Despite the stress and uncertainty, she feels it will be worth it.
“I will be able to breathe, play with my grandson and pick him up,” said Macphee.
She has now lived with COPD for more than six years, su ering her rst attack of breathlessness while working in Fort Mcmurray, Alta., as a cleaner, earning a good wage.
But Macphee says the cleaning chemicals made her sick.
“I’ve never been the same,” she said. To donate online, visit https:// ca.gofundme.com/22kje9w.
Cindi Macphee, left, and her daughter Cynthia Milligan are raising money for Cindi’s trip to Toronto for a double-lung transplant later this month. They will need funds for medication, accommodation and travel expenses.