N.B. woman must move to Toronto for life-saving lung transplant. She can’t afford to go

Right before Yvette Taylor’s husband died a year and a half ago, she made a vow to him — one that’s proving costly to fulfil.The 67-year-old New Brunswick woman promised she would get a life-saving procedure and keep strong.“I made a promise to my husband that I would get a double lung transplant on his dying bed. And I’m hoping to keep that promise,” she said from her home in Riverview, N.B.

Taylor has sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that has severely impacted her lung capacity.“It affects everything in my life. It affects my walking. I can’t do a lot of things by myself, which is the big deal for me because I’m very independent,” she said.

Her condition has significantly worsened since her husband’s death, and now she’s looking to relocate to Toronto to get her name on the list for a double lung transplant.While the surgery is covered by New Brunswick’s Medicare, the program only partially subsidizes the cost of lodging, which will be significant in Toronto.

Melanie Langille, the president and CEO of NB Lung, explained it’s commonplace for patients in the province to relocate when they’re waiting for transplant surgery.“You need to be very close to where the lungs are available and where the surgeons are available to do that sort of work,” Langille said.“The closest lung transplant facilities to us in New Brunswick are either Montreal or Toronto.”

Taylor lives on a pension and doesn’t have private insurance, which means covering some of the cost of rent, as well as the entire cost to hire someone to help care for her, is challenging.Her daughter, Julie Laforge, has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help cover these costs, which she estimates will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.“Unfortunately, if we can’t come up with money to help her get there, then she doesn’t get to go, you know?” Laforge said.“And then we just watch and it’s already a struggle. So I don’t want that to happen.”

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