Minnesota Woman Moving to North Carolina, Hoping to Save Her Life

Teri Starkey has Cystic Fibrosis and can't get the double lung transplant she needs unless she moves to North Carolina. Fox 9 News' Paul Blume Reports from Delano, Minnesot

DELANO, Minn. — A woman suffering from cystic fibrosis needs to move more than one thousand miles to have a life-saving double lung transplant.

“I’d say it’s like when you have the flu and you’re knocked out for a week and you think you’re dying,” said Teri Starkey, who lives in Delano.  “That’s a good portion of my life.”

Teri and her husband, Eric, have no idea how much longer her lungs will hold out.

“There’s been times when I feel like I’ve been like…” she said, her voice trailing off.  “This could be it.  Which is really hard to think about.”

Teri was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a teenager.

CF is a disease that ravages the lungs over time.

The current life expectancy for some people with CF is about 37 years.

Teri is 33-years-old and doctors told her it’s time to start thinking about a double lung transplant if she is going to survive much longer.

“You never know with this disease,” she said.  “Super unpredictable.”

Along with her condition, the mother of two has also been diagnosed with a bacteria that can further attack new organs.

Some medical facilities, including Mayo and the U of M, won’t even attempt the transplant on her.

So Teri and Eric have decided, in an effort to prolong her life, they will move to a hospital that will give her a chance.

Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina.

Her friends and family are raising tens of thousands of dollars to prepare for a potentially life-saving procedure with all sorts of unknowns on the horizon.

“She’s the strongest person I know, by far,” said Eric.  “I think I’ve learned a lot about life just from living with her and seeing what she tries to go through just every day.”

“It’s scary,” adds Teri.  “But I have to block it out.  A lot of the stuff I have to block out because I need to be here for my husband and my kids and keep fighting.”

If you would like to help Teri and her family, here is a link to their YouCaring page, set up by her friends.

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