KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops woman is hoping she will be a viable candidate to receive a heart and lung transplant.
Two years ago, Sue Stratford found out her heart was failing and she would need to undergo several surgeries to try and repair the damaged valves.
Shortly after that, the mother of two was also diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension - making breathing a difficult task. Medical and travel expenses have put the family in financial hardship. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Stratford and her family during this difficult time.
WATCH: Full report by Tanya Cronin
For Sue Stratford and her husband Marc, the past two years have been nothing short of a rollercoaster.
"There were a couple of times that we were told she might not make it through, we had to go to the hospital and prepare ourselves to say our final goodbyes," says Marc Bruyere, Sue's Husband.
Their journey all began in June of 2014, Father's Day. Sue found herself not being able to breathe and was rushed to hospital for what was thought to be pneumonia. But that would turn out to be so much more.
"Found out there that I had a murmur which I had never had before when they delved into that they discovered I had rheumatic valves, so they say I had Rheumatic Fever at some point," says Sue Stratford.
Sue's heart was failing. In just a matter of weeks, she underwent an 18-hour open heart surgery, followed by three others to try and repair the damage. She was put in an induced coma to control swelling and remained that way for 3 and a half weeks.
"My heart fell apart on the table, so now I have 2 replaced valves, a repaired valve, a cow band around my heart and I have a patch."
"My biggest concern was the short term memory loss that could have arose from this and her coming out and not knowing who I was or not remembering the last 6 years we've been together," says Bruyere.
Sue had to learn how to walk, talk and eat again. During the months she was in hospital, stress and uncertainty consumed her husband and two children. Medical and travel costs have also taken a toll, Marc has been unable to work and the family is hoping a go fund me page can bring some financial relief.
"We've gone through two of our savings already, not only for medication but for living expenses," says Bruyere.
"It's been a really tough road because I can't do anything, I can't do housework, I can't work in the garden, I don't have the stamina," says Stratford.
Today, Sue is going through pre-transplant screening, hoping one day to receive a new heart. But with a recent diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension, the 51-year old will also need a lung transplant and still has a long road ahead, to getting her life back on track.
"We thought that I would have a lot longer before it would come to a transplant, we didn't think we would be here 2 years later," says Stratford.
"We hope this will be the answer but we're not counting on it, basically we just live day to day," says Bruyere.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Sue Stratford and her family. If you would like to help you can donate by visiting www.gofundme.com/marcandsue
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