Laurence Théberge, a teenager from Rouyn-Noranda, was born with cystic fibrosis. Despite receiving daily treatments for her lungs, Laurence says that she lived an almost normal life: dancing, traveling with her family, going to school, and seeing her friends.
In January 2019 however, her life suddenly came to a halt. She was hospitalized for several months because bacteria were attacking her lungs and her breathing capacity had drastically plummeted. “I became dependent on an oxygen machine. Throughout this ordeal, I still managed to home school and finish grade 10. But then in September, I was hospitalized once again in Rouyn, and quickly transferred to Montreal where I started the process for a lung transplant,” shares Laurence.
When she met Dr. Ferraro, whom she now refers to as a friend, Laurence was well aware that she was slowly losing her battle. By November 2019, Laurence’s health had deteriorated significantly, her lungs had stopped working, and she was placed on a respirator.
She was then transferred to the CHUM in hopes of receiving a transplant. Upon her arrival, she continued to deteriorate and was placed on an artificial heart-lung machine (ECMO) and on dialysis. Five days later, a miracle occurred: Laurence received a generous gift of new lungs. The surgery was successfully carried out by the transplant team at the CHUM and quickly Laurence was able to breath on her own without assistance. Following two months of intense rehabilitation, Laurence was released from the hospital. Due to the pandemic, she was confined to her home where she worked relentlessly to complete her grade 11 studies and graduated from high school. She recently celebrated her 17th birthday.
Laurence is an extraordinary individual who has demonstrated exceptional courage: “My family and I recently participated in the cystic fibrosis walk and raised close to nine thousand dollars. In June, I graduated and received a bursary for my perseverance. Needless to say, my transplant saved my life and this experience has allowed me to understand the importance of organ donation and supporting health related Foundations.”
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