“I’d like to live long enough to see my eight year-old sister, Hannah, graduate from high school,” Amanda ‘Mandy’ Eisenhauer said, “and even longer if I can.”
Eisenhauer, 29 years-old, works part-time as a teacher aide in the Shikellamy school district, but recently she’s been unable to work due to her battles with lung infections.
She has cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic disease of children and young adults. The disease primarily impacts the lungs and digestive systems, and it features the secretion of a thick, sticky mucus that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria in causing frequent lung infections. It can also clog the digestive system and many with CF have to take pancreatic enzymes to ensure their bodies break down and absorb food.
She lost her older brother, Todd, to CF last year and she also has a younger sister, Brittany, who has CF but is doing well at this point.
“I’m really anxious to get a lung transplant,” said Eisenhauer. “I was only out of the hospital for a week after getting over the last lung infection, and now I’m back in with another infection. It seems like my lungs are wearing out, and it gets frustrating and depressing at times.” She spends at least two hours daily doing percussion vest treatments along with nebulizer treatments to loosen the thick mucus, and she takes 20-25 pills daily including pancreatic enzymes, vitamins, and oral antibiotics as needed.
“I don’t think about my daily routine that much,” she says. “It’s what’s normal for me and I have to do it to live.” She does have other interests which include fishing, boating, crocheting and hanging out with friends. “And a lot of the time I’ll be doing something with Hannah.”
Eisenhauer had her lung transplant evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) several months ago, and at the time she was ‘too healthy’ to be placed on the list for a lung transplant. Due to her recent decline in health, she is now on the UPMC transplant list and has arranged with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to help with the fundraising process. Although insurance will pay for most of the transplant costs, Eisenhauer was told that she would need about $40,000 to cover miscellaneous expenses like food, travel, and lodging.
COTA serves both adult and child transplant patients, and they assist patients who need transplants due to genetic diseases and those who need a life-saving organ, bone marrow, cord blood, or stem cell transplant. COTA guides the transplant family and their volunteers through the fundraising steps that include volunteer training, assistance in planning of events, media coverage, and multiple funding sources. There are no fees for these services.
“We had a conference call training session with COTA last week,” Eisenhauer said, and it was really helpful in getting our volunteers ready to go.”
Her parents, Todd and Tina Buckles, are excited that she is finally on the list for the transplant. “I’m just hoping she gets her transplant and can live a more normal life without a lot of hospitalizations,” Tina said.
Cathy Beeler, a long-time family friend, is the overall Community Coordinator for “Mandy’s Miracle,” and Bob Derr from Pennsylvania Cystic Fibrosis, Inc. (PACFI), is the Public Relations Coordinator. PACFI is an independent nonprofit organization that helps Pennsylvania families affected by CF and annually funds CF research. The Webmaster for Eisenhauer’s COTA website is Brittany Buckles, Eisenhauer’s sister. Any businesses, persons or organizations that want to do a fundraiser to benefit Mandy’s Miracle Transplant Fund can contact Beeler at 570-809-1961.
People who want to donate to Mandy’s Miracle can go to the COTA website at www.cota.org and donate on Amanda Eisenhauer’s page, or make a check out to PACFI and send to PACFI, Mandy’s Miracle, P.O. Box 29, Mifflinburg, PA 17844. PACFI will forward all funds for Mandy’s Miracle to COTA.
(Information from Bob Derr, PACFI)
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