Breath of Life for Erika
Erika Maples family are raising funds to help cover her medical costs incurred because of pulmonary fibrosis and lung transplant expenses.
Erika Maples is 20 years old and diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Pulmonary Fibrosis is a lung disease that progressively inflames and scars the lung tissues and destroys the ability to breathe. This fundraiser is to help Erika with expenses related to this rare and deadly disease.
Erika graduated from high school in 2012 and joined the Air Force that summer. While at Basic Training she had difficulty running and testing revealed that something wasn't right with her lungs. Heartbroken, she was discharged and underwent a gambit of testing to determine the cause of the inflammation and scarring of her lungs. After a lung biopsy in January 2013 it was determined that she had pulmonary fibrosis and there was no underlying cause or reason for it. This also means there is no treatment and ultimately her lung function will deteriorate until she becomes critical enough to be placed on the 'active' lung transplant list.
Erika started working full time shortly after her diagnosis and was determined to live her life as normally as she could. In August she started noticing that she was having more difficulty breathing and by October she was on supplemental oxygen 24/7 and no longer able to work. In December the disease progressed a little more and she ended up in respiratory distress with pneumonia. She was flown to Cleveland Clinic and met with the transplant team. Fortunately, she responded well to meds and it was determined that she wasn't in need of an immediate transplant at that time. Erika was discharged with a new medication regime and higher amounts of supplemental oxygen. She returns to the Cleveland Clinic in February for a week of testing to complete the pre-transplant process and will continue to follow up there.
Between October through February, Erika's out of pocket medical expenses will reach $5,000, not including travel expenses or monthly Rx and O2 costs. Additionally at the time of the transplant, she will be responsible for, and must show she can pay, the estimated $8,000 jet flight to the Cleveland Clinic. The flight is necessary because the Cleveland Clinic is 320 miles away from where she lives in southern Indiana. When an organ becomes available there is a small window of opportunity for her to reach the hospital and receive the transplant. Speed and time are a critical component for a successful lung transplant.
Erika is unable to work and her only income is disability. We would like to help raise money to cover her immediate out of pocket obligations and establish a medical trust fund for her future medical expenses.