Health Team

Cystic fibrosis patient thriving after lung transplant

A young woman with cystic fibrosis is thriving after a lung transplant, and she says she's grateful to her donor for the gift of life.

Posted Updated

Monica Lerew and her family have been able to manage the respiratory symptoms of her cystic fibrosis most of her life.

With the condition, a thick mucous clogs the airways as well as several organs and the digestive tract. Different medications and treatments are needed to help CF patients clear the mucous from their lungs.

But it takes its toll over time.

“Things started to go downhill when I reached middle school,” Lerew said.

She was in the hospital four of five times a year, and the situation grew critical by January 2012.

A double lung transplant was her only hope.

“I had accepted that this could possibly be the end of my life and I was OK with that,” Lerew said. “I was ready to go and be healthy in heaven and just have no problems.”

She waited eight months for the call.

“That's the point where my life changed forever,” Lerew said.

Her recovery has been slow and steady.

“I have not had rejection, and it's been 7 months,” she said. “I've had no infections in my lungs. I've been the healthiest that I've ever been.”

It's been just as stressful – and just as satisfying – for her family.

“It does a momma's heart really good. It's just truly been such a blessing,” said her mother, Monteen Lerew.

They are grateful for the donor who made it all possible.

“My donor, my angel, is breathing on because of me. They are breathing. Each and every breath that I take is because of them,” Monica Lerew said.

The Lerew family hopes one day to contact her donor's family. His other donated organs could also have been used in up to seven other people.

For more information about being an organ donor, visit the Donate Life North Carolina website.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.