Cuba grad awaiting double lung transplant

09.04.2013

Source: Journal Star

Imagine not being able to laugh or cry without feeling as if you were suffocating. Imagine going from an active lifestyle to not being able to walk even a short distance without losing your breath. Imagine being on oxygen 24 hours a day. Imagine your heart being six times larger than average and covering three-fourths of a lung. Imagine if the only chance you had to live was to have a double lung transplant that costs nearly $800,000. And now imagine if you were only age 29. That’s the challenge facing Michelle “Shelly” Jump, a 2003 graduate of Cuba High School.

Following graduation, she joined the Army and met her husband, Jessie Jump, whom she married in 2004. After Jessie returned from his deployment in Iraq, the couple celebrated their second wedding anniversary in May 2006. The following day she had gall bladder surgery, and the day after that, she stopped breathing and had to be lifeflighted to OSF.

Tests showed she had pulmonary arterial hypertension. On Jan. 1, 2011, Jump had an IV line put in to help her breathe and take pressure off her heart. She also takes several other medications.

With all her trials, Jump has a positive attitude, according to her mother, Penny Winters.“She’s in a lot of pain and she’s lost a lot of weight,” Winters said. “She’s also retaining fluid, so it has to be drained. She looks like she’s both anorexic and pregnant.”In addition to the cost of the transplant, Jump will need to temporarily relocate 600 miles from her home to be near the hospital during recovery, which will mean more expenses for travel, food and lodging.Winters said they have completed the tests and other measures to get Jump ready for the transplant, but before she can get on the list, they need to have a private pilot or service that would be able to get her to Pittsburgh, where the transplant would take place, in four hours in order for her to be placed on the waiting list. If no such transportation is found by September, Jump and her immediate family will have to relocate to the Pittsburgh area in October.That would mean Winters leaving her job and trying to find a new one in the Pittsburgh area, as well as working to find new sources for the medications and oxygen Jump must have.Because of her condition, Jump would not be able to fly in a commercial airline for the transplant.

Winters said the experience has taught her a number of things.“I have learned not to take the little things for granted, like breathing,” Winters said.Though securing the transplant is still a work in progress, Michelle is thankful for the support.“All my tests are now completed,” Michelle said. “If I die before or during my transplant, I will still be happy because life is beautiful, and I have great friends and family that love me and support me. Thank you very much.”

To help raise funds for Michelle “Shelly” Jump’s expenses, a fun run/auction will be held Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Brew-N-Cue in Canton.The cost is $20 per bike and $10 per additional rider.There will also be a 50/50 drawing and raffle items.For more information on the fundraiser, contact Jessie Jump at 224-6794.Tax-deductible contributions are also being sought by the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT), which is working to help with expenses. For details, go to www.transplants.org/michellejump

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