Still breathing

Woman hopes for double lung transplant to save her life

Patricia Stradford tries to keep positive even on the toughest of days.

She maintains her faith and tries to keep up her work with the Stratford Democratic Town Committee, volunteering to advocate for town Democrats in races and to fight for better health care for all.

“I love the job. Whether you’re going to get paid, whether it’s volunteer, I just love what they do. And they [the DTC] became like family,” Stradford said, talking from her apartment on Henry Avenue.

Stradford is also keeping her faith that she will be able to get a double lung transplant that will save her life.

Stradford suffers from sarcoidosis, a rare lung disease she’s had for more than 30 years.

According to the Mayo Clinic, sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of the body, most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, and skin. Doctors believe sarcoidosis results from the body’s immune system responding to an unknown substance, most likely something inhaled from the air.

There is no cure for sarcoidosis. Some people who have the disease do well with little or only modest treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. But in a few cases, like Stradford’s, it lasts for years and causes organ damage.

For Stradford, that’s meant having several collapses of her lung. She is often short of breath and has to bring a portable oxygen machine with her to breathe regularly. She has a larger oxygen machine in her bedroom and turns it on at night in order to sleep.

“If I’m sitting still [my oxygen levels] will drop. But as long as I’m doing activities, it will drop fast,” she said.

Stradford, 60, had originally been diagnosed with asthma in her late teens. She only found out about sarcoidosis in her late 20s, after the birth of her second son.

Stradford has stage 4 sarcoidosis, the last stage of the disease, and is in need of a double lung transplant.

Residents are trying to help her out and raise some of the costs for her care and the cadre of medicines she takes in advance of a possible transplant.

Barbara Heimlich, a fellow Stratford Democrat, started a GoFundMe page, explaining some of Stradford’s situation and asking for $100,000 in donations to help pay for medical expenses.

Stradford, a resident of Stratford for nearly three years, heard about the campaign when she was at Yale New Haven Hospital last week. Knowing that friends want to assist her in getting the help she needs is “beautiful,” she said.

She plans to visit with doctors at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York in the coming weeks to talk about what to expect. Her mother and one of her sons will join her.

To donate to Patricia Stradford’s medical expenses, visit gofundme.com/patricia039s-double-lung-transplant.

Patricia Stradford, 60, holds up a photo she took with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal as she advocated for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act. Stradford suffers from sarcoidosis and is in need of a double lung transplant. — Melvin Mason photo

Patricia Stradford, 60, holds up a photo she took with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal as she advocated for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act. Stradford suffers from sarcoidosis and is in need of a double lung transplant. — Melvin Mason photo

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Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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