BROWNSBURG — Stephanie Rath says part of the reason she’s alive today is because of her unwavering “love of living.” As she waits on a double lung transplant due to her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, that love may be enhanced soon.
Rath’s friends call her “Pink Pig,” a symbolic nickname to exemplify overcoming the impossible coming from the phrase “if pigs have wings, away they’d fly.” As Rath says, “my wings would be in the form of a double lung transplant.”
With her health declining over the last four years, friends and family have reached out in hopes of raising the needed $65,000 to help her get a surgery that will cost more than $500,000. Rath is nearing the top of a donor list and hopes that her long wait will have less than a month left on its timetable.
Rath was born in Speedway and moved to Brownsburg about 15 years ago.
A team of her friends and colleagues created an avenue to raise funds with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) as part of National Donate Life Month, where every dollar will go toward transplant-related expenses.
“I really love life and enjoy it so much,” Rath said. “All the love I get from my husband Randy, friends, family, and dogs have kept me going. I want to be there for them and enjoy life as long as I can.
“I’m ready to run and do all sorts of stuff. I’ll be able to breathe again.”
When she first started treatment for the genetic disease, she wasn’t even able to ride three minutes on an exercise bike.
And she had been down the transplant route once before, which is when she found another enemy waiting for her: rectal cancer. But even in the face of fighting both, she’s stayed determined and warded off cancer, giving her another shot at a lung transplant.