Making Each Breath Count
In 2013, Laurie Chandler developed a persistent dry cough, experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, and started losing weight rapidly. After many visits to several hospitals, she was finally diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a condition that is most commonly connected to a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a chronic and progressive lung disease where lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. As part of her treatment, Laurie’s doctors recommended she stay active, exercising for one hour, three times a week. In January 2014, Laurie was just a few short minutes into her routine workout at her gym when she went pale white and felt faint. She headed to her local hospital emergency room, where she learned she was operating with less than 20% capacity between both lungs.
Soon thereafter, Laurie was admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and assigned a dedicated group of doctors from the Lung Transplant Program. She was placed on extracorporeal membranous oxygenation (ECMO), a form of life support that often serves as a bridge to transplantation. Laurie explains, “Shortly after meeting my team, I felt more at ease than I had in years. I knew I was in good hands.”
Just two weeks after being admitted to BWH, Laurie received a double-lung transplant. Today, she is healthy and happy, working hard to stay active with her new lungs, while remaining under careful follow-up care from her team at the Lung Center.
When various complications arose because of an allergic reaction to her immunosuppressant medications following surgery, she was seen by a nephrologist, cardiologist, and hematologist—all coordinating with each other to maximize her quality of care. “All along, I felt protected and well-guided. I am incredibly grateful for the multidisciplinary approach to care provided by the Brigham.”
In appreciation for the comprehensive care that focused on all aspects of her health, Laurie and her husband, Clarke, made a generous gift through their estate to help BWH ensure the Lung Transplant Program can provide excellent care to patients for years to come. “As a Certified Financial Planner, I’m a huge advocate of one taking the time to do their estate planning. Making a gift to the Brigham that will change lives is as simple as placing certain language into your estate plan documents.”
“I hope my gift will help the Brigham continue to provide the highest quality care possible to patients and their families,” said Laurie. “I would also like to see medical techniques uncovered that will achieve more accurate diagnosis and targeted treatments for pulmonary fibrosis.”
View the video of Laurie speaking about her experience.