Outer Banks woman approved for rare third double-lung transplant

Outer Banks resident Tricia Lawrenson is preparing for a third double-lung transplant. [Photo by Nate Lawrenson]

Outer Banks mom of two Tricia Lawrenson and her family got some positive news Wednesday – Duke University Hospital has approved her for a rare third double-lung transplant.

The 37-year-old Kill Devil Hills resident was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby and has already undergone two live-saving transplants.

With her lungs in rejection again, Lawrenson was running out of options. But she has now been approved to relocate to Duke and begin physical therapy in preparation for being listed. Third double-lung transplant surgery has only been performed about a dozen times across the United States, and Lawrenson would be only the fifth at Duke.

Lawrenson and her husband Nate will head to Durham on Monday for 28 days of physical therapy at Duke to build strength and stamina, but there’s also a possibility she will be listed for a transplant before the 28 days are up.

Lawrenson family

Back home, friends are planning back-to-back fundraisers at Nags Head Church to help the Lawrenson family with the associated financial burden. A double lung transplant will cost at least $1.3 million, and while the family’s insurance covers a large portion, out of pocket expenses will run as much as $50,000.

Family friend Ashley Olvey, whose 8-year-old daughter also lives with cystic fibrosis, has organized two events at Nags Head Church to benefit the Lawrenson family, one Friday and the other Saturday.

On Valentine’s Day, Olvey and volunteers are hosting a babysitting service for parents who’d like a night out.

Click here for the Valentine’s Day babysitting service

The event is open to all ages, infant to teen, and there will be CPR certified adults and teens there to help entertain the kids.

The cost will be $10 per child, but if you feel led to give more, all proceeds will directly benefit the Lawrenson family.

Organizers ask that you feed your kids dinner before they come, but a small snack will be provided.

Then Saturday, Feb. 15, a community-wide event, “For Love and Lungs,” will feature local artisans and vendors, along with lunch and sweet treats from local favorites. All proceeds will go to the Lawrenson family.

In addition to the two fundraisers, Surfin’ Spoon frozen yogurt is selling T-shirts benefitting the Lawrenson family:

There is also a GoFundMe campaign which goes toward Lawrenson’s medical trust.

Nate Lawrenson said the family is grateful for the support of the Outer Banks community.

“Thank you so much for the prayer and support. Even people I don’t recognize around town are asking me about Tricia’s health,” he said in a Facebook post. “It’s incredibly encouraging to feel this kind of love from so many.”

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This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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