Jackie Bates is on the waitlist for a double lung transplant and needs to come up with at least $10,000 for living expenses (Submitted photo)

Defying the odds, Jackie Bates raises funds for double lung transplant

Ladysmith woman suffers from cystic fibrosis and is on the waitlist for a double lung transplant

Jackie Bates was told early on that she’d be lucky to turn 20-years old.

Now at 28, she has been waitlisted for a double lung transplant and her future is looking bright.

Bates suffers from cystic fibrosis, a condition she was born with. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that can cause issues with organs, primarily the lungs. People with cystic fibrosis are prone to lung infections that decrease lung capacity over time.

“Every infection you get causes more and more permanent damage. My lungs only work about 20 percent at the moment,” Bates said. “When you get that low you have to have a lung transplant or you most likely will pass away within a year.”

When Bates receives her transplant it will improve her quality of life, however she still suffers from other health complications brought on by her cystic fibrosis.

Around Christmas time 2019, Bates was told she was placed on the waitlist for a double lung transplant, which she said was her big Christmas present.

Lung transplants are not like that of other organs. The patient receiving the lung transplant has their lungs measured, and blood type taken for compatibility. When a match is found, patients have approximately four hours to arrive at the hospital for the transplant.

“You get no heads up, it just kind of happens,” Bates said.

After the procedure is completed, Bates will have to live in Vancouver for up to six months while she heals. She will also need a family member to stay with her. The transplant clinic recommended she save $10,000 to $15,000 for expenses. Bates will also have to rent a car for transportation, as she will not be able to take public transportation for up to two years.

Bates has managed to raise $7,600 so far. She created a GoFundMe page that has raised $4,880, she also received $1,500 in private donations, and was surprised with $2,000 from the Ladysmith Sportsmen Club. Bates is an avid hunter, and her family is very involved in outdoor sports.

Dave Judson of the Ladysmith Sportsmen said that Bates, and her parents, Stuart and Jody Bates donate a lot of time to the Sportsmen Club. The club decided to raffle off some prizes they purchased with leftover firewood money, and gave all the proceeds to Bates.

“It was so funny because at the banquet Jackie was asking me ‘which rifle should I get when I get back out next year’. She didn’t know we were doing this to give her a donation,” Judson said.

“They were shocked! They had no idea. Jackie said ‘you didn’t have to do that, Dave’, and I said ‘I know I didn’t. We chose to.”

Judson said Bates is a ‘crackerjack shot’, and he looks forward to seeing her get back out in the woods, so long as she stays out of his hunting spot.

When asked how she feels to receive donations from so many people, Bates said she was shocked.

“It’s amazing, yet odd. I’ve never really asked for money, but in this scenario I didn’t have a choice. It was incredible to see how many people came out of the woodwork to help. Some of these people I haven’t talked to for over 10 years, they’re all the sudden donating money, and time. It makes me feel like this town is really good for that. Everyone still cares about each other,” she said.

The donations have taken a heavy burden off Bates and her parents. Without the donations, her family would be the ones footing the bill.

Bates is looking forward to taking her first breath with her new lungs.

“I’d love to know how that feels. I can’t even hold my breath for 10 seconds,” she said.

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