Published Friday, November 30, 2012
By ALEX MCRAE
East Coweta High graduate Kyle Cole remains hopeful that he will soon be placed on the list to receive the double lung transplant he needs to stay alive.
Meanwhile, friends, family members and supporters are staging an event on Dec. 9 to help raise funds to defray the staggering cost of the life-saving procedure.
“We still have quite a ways to go, but none of this would be possible without the continued support and prayers from our community,” said Kyle’s sister, Carissa DiBenedetto. “We are beyond blessed and humbled by the amount of support and love we continue to receive.
“We’ve raised $20,000 so far and will be getting a $10,000 match from the GA Lung Transplant Association when we get closer to D-Day. Our goal is to raise another $20,000 before he has the transplant, and we are quickly approaching that time,” she said.
“Final testing for determination of when Kyle will be put on the list will be Dec. 4,” she said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed. Thanks again to everyone and God bless.”
The fundraiser is an event that offers gift-wrapping of Christmas presents in exchange for donations. The donation is $2 per box wrapped, $3 if a bow is included. The event will be held at the Box Car Cafe in Tyrone Dec. 9 from noon to 4 p.m.
“We will also being selling baked goods, coffee and “New Lungs for Kyle” T-shirts and bracelets,” said DiBenedetto. “People can come by and fill out their name tags for each of their gifts and hang out while we wrap or just swing by and pick up them up later.”
Kyle Cole suffers from cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States.
Cystic fibrosis causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. The disease also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
Cole has lived with CF all his life, but recently, the disease has gotten worse. Transplant specialists have told him that his long-term survival depends on receiving a double lung transplant. The procedure is dangerous and expensive and there is no guarantee a suitable donor will be found.
“It’s going to be very expensive,” Cole said. “Not just the transplant, if it happens, but all the medications and post-op care you need after the surgery. It takes a lot of money.”
A lack of funds will not prevent Cole from receiving a transplant should a donor become available. But Cole and other transplant patients are encouraged to personally raise as much money as possible, both for their own care and the care of others awaiting transplants.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Cole said. “I want to do what I can to help myself and others. “