Ahoskie man needs lung transplant

Published 12:26 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

AHOSKIE — Without breath, life does not exist. Without the hope of a double lung transplant, life for Robert Butler may be cut short. The Ahoskie man is in need of such a transplant. He has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a disorder that involves the scarring of the lung. According to Butler’s cousin, Nancy Williams, the disease has left her relative without an income since January of last year. “It started with Robert coming down with a case of pneumonia,” Williams said. “When things didn’t get any better from that, he wound-up at Duke University Hospital where tests showed he had Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.” There is no known cure for IPF. Over a gradual period of time, IPF causes the air sacs of the lungs to become replaced by fibrotic tissue. When the scar forms, the tissue becomes thicker, causing an irreversible loss of the tissue’s ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. Williams said her cousin is on oxygen. He also is part of a special program at ViQuest of Ahoskie that has led him to breathe a “bit better,” according to Williams. “The only cure is for Robert to have both lungs replaced,” Williams said. That procedure is a costly one. “He needs $10,000 for the surgery,” Williams said. “I’m doing my best to stage some fund raisers to help him with that.” The first of those fund raisers is planned for Saturday, Jan. 17 at Ryan’s Café in Aulander. There, spaghetti plates will be offered for lunch (11 a.m. until 2 p.m.) and supper (5-7 p.m.). A donation of $6 (adults); $4 (children) per plate is requested. For those who would like to give more, they are free to do so. “Every little bit will help,” Williams said. There is also an account set up in Robert Butler’s name through the National Transplant Assistance Fund. Make checks payable to NTAF South-Atlantic Transplant Fund and print in the memo line, In Honor of Robert Butler. Mail to NTAF, 150 N. Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120, Radnor, PA 19087. For credit card contributions, call 1-800-642-8399 or visit transplantfund.org. According to www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org, there are 5 million people worldwide affected by this disease. In the United States there are over 200,000 patients with Pulmonary Fibrosis. As a consequence of misdiagnosis the actual numbers may be significantly higher. Of these more than 40,000 expire annually. This is the same as die from Breast Cancer. Typically, patients are in their 40’s and 50’s when diagnosed. However, diagnoses have ranged from age 7 to the 80’s. Current research indicates that many infants are afflicted by Pediatric Interstitial Lung Disease. At this time there is limited data on prevalence for this group. Traditional theories have postulated that it might be an autoimmune disorder, or the after effects of an infection, viral in nature. There is a growing body of evidence which points to a genetic predisposition. A mutation in the SP-C protein has been found to exist in families with a history of Pulmonary Fibrosis. The most current thinking is that the fibrotic process is a reaction to microscopic injury to the lung.