About Luke Maeding
With the cost of a transplant often exceeding $500,000, many transplant patients are unable to shoulder the financial burden of such a procedure. The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is a national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-needy patients. In Nazareth, volunteers are raising funds for transplant patients like local boy Luke Maeding.
Born on July 29, 2001, Luke was diagnosed with Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease and doctors at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania performed a life-saving double lung transplant on August 14, 2010. An estimated $75,000 is being raised by Nazareth volunteers.
We have seen the miracle of transplant transform Luke before our eyes. After a 1 month stay in the hospital and 2 month total stay in Pittsburgh, Luke is now able to run and play once again as a boy should be able to. His first word after coming off the ventilator and being asked how his lungs feel was, "Great!" We are incredibly thankful for the donor family as their gift of life has enabled Luke to live life to its fullest. It has been more than 6 months since transplant and he is completely rejection free! We continue to travel to Pittsburgh every 3 months for a week of appointments and biopsy. We are now used to a life without oxygen though making sure he remains healthy takes a lot of medication, monthly IV infusion, wearing a mask in public, and lots of special attention. Lung transplants almost always end up with rejection, so once we get past the 2 year acute rejection period we will need to be very careful of chronic rejection. For now we are continuing to watch in amazement as he is able to be outside playing with his siblings once again. We look forward to seeing him this spring and summer enjoy a newfound freedom away from his oxygen and breathing machine!
Luke is now more than 3 years out from his transplant. His lungs continue to do well. Last fall he had a decline in his PFTs but he has not declined further and seems to be doing well overall with his lungs. Of course every cold/virus, flu, or other illness he gets is nervewracking as we know it can set off an events of chronic rejection.
Luke continues to be in and out of the hospital mostly due to intestinal issues. We currently think during his transplant or another time of low blood pressure after his transplant an area of his small intestine was compromised. He has periods where his intestines stop working and right now it is every 2-8 weeks. Coming up with a plan to hopefully stop these really hard episodes is our current focus.