Catherine Bedford has come a long way since her lung disease diagnosis. In her early 30s, Catherine first noticed shortness of breath, forcing her to give up playing the sports she loved. The real shock came when her first baby arrived ten weeks premature and blue due to lack of oxygen. When her second child was born with a very low birth weight, also due to a lack of oxygen in Catherine’s body, alarm bells were triggered.
Within the next few years, Catherine received the startling news that she had Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic form of emphysema.
Things continued to worsen. By the age of 38, Catherine needed to carry two large tanks of oxygen with her at all times. Even while doing all she could to maintain her health – eating well, getting flu shots and using her inhalers – Catherine’s lung disease seriously impacted her life. She needed oxygen to get simple chores done. Bending over to tie her shoes left her out of breath. Climbing stairs or going out for groceries became too difficult. Unable to take part in her children’s activities and losing the social life she used to enjoy, Catherine became home-bound.
In December 2015, at the age of 50, Catherine’s life dramatically changed again – this time for the better – as she received a double-lung transplant. Now, she loves getting outside, walking her dogs for hours, working out, and going places with her teenage kids.
Catherine, who’s determined to take excellent care of her new lungs, is now a vocal advocate for lung health. It’s clear to her that no one ever really knows when they might be the one to benefit from the tremendous advances in lung research. Your support for The Lung Association helps people like Catherine breathe easier and may one day make a difference in your life or that of someone you love.