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Team Pee Wee's Big Adventure
Mr. Gary Kirk
Mrs. Jennifer Boucher
Jennifer Ann Clark
Pee-Wee's Big Sister
This cause is near and dear to my family and me. My sister, Jacqueline, aka Pee-Wee, is currently recovering from her second bilateral lung transplant. In 2005, prior to both transplants, she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.
"Pulmonary hypertension" describes high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is one form of pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary arteries carry blood from your heart to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen to be delivered throughout your body. In PAH, the pulmonary arteries constrict abnormally. This forces your heart to work faster and causes blood pressure within the lungs to rise.
PAH worsens over time and is life-threatening because the pressure in a patient's pulmonary arteries rises to dangerously high levels, putting a strain on the heart. There is no cure for PAH, but several medications are available to treat symptoms.
Pee-Wee received her first set of lungs in May 2008 at the University of San Francisco Medical Center. The transplant was a success and she decided to live life to its fullest. She traveled all over the world and took every breath with earnest and zest.
In 2012, she experienced organ rejection and was hospitalized in June. On July 4th, she was placed on the organ wait list over in Lausanne, Switzerland where she lives with her husband. I visited her mid-July at CHUV, the University Hospital in Lausanne. The next months were a struggle with Pee-Wee unable to walk short distances and perform simple daily activities. I Skyped with her on Thanksgiving Day. She could only chat with me for 5 minutes. I loved seeing her. Three days later, she was placed in a medically induced coma due to severe respiratory distress. Complications arose with the carbon dioxide in her blood and she was placed on ECMO. This is an external apparatus used to clean the blood. Most patients are kept on this machine for a maximum of two weeks due to risk of blood disorders and infections. Jacqueline was on this machine until she received lungs on January 7, 2013. The lungs were a perfect match and she has embarked on the road to recovery.
Many of you have been on this "big adventure" with us from the beginning. All the prayers, support and positive chi have helped her stay afloat and fight to live. We thank you the most for that.
Our group, Team Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, will take on over 30 flights of stairs in honor of Jackie on April 27th in Austin, Texas. We will be the group in red tutus and bowties!
Please join Team Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and register for the climb or make a generous donation to the American Lung Association to support our FIGHT FOR AIR.
No one should struggle to breathe. That is why we are participating in the Fight For Air Climb.