ALBANY, Ore. — This Father’s Day has been really tough on an Albany family. Every minute that goes by, it’s harder and harder for their dad
to breath. But in order to get the double lung transplant to save Mike Stone’s life, his family was told, they would need $150,000 up front to even get him on the transplant list.
“It’s amazing that costs like this can prevent people from continuing life,” said daughter Sara Stravers, who is spending Father’s Day running PR for her dad’s campaign to stay alive.
“He had started to have some shortness of breath doing day-to-day activities and started to feel tired, which is abnormal for him because he’s a very active man,” Stravers said.
Straver’s father has been a hunter, a camper and a little league coach for decades. A year ago, the Albany father of three, and now grandfather, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
His lungs literally are hardening into scar tissue and the disease doesn’t give a reason why.
“Patients slowly suffocate from lack of oxygen,” Stravers said. Just walking to the fridge or standing up is a massive effort for Stone.
“In April, he went on oxygen full-time and it’s just been a steady decline since,” Stravers said.
This weekend, Stone was flown down to Stanford Medical Center. He needs a double lung transplant within the next week. If he does not receive the transplant, he will die.
The cruel catch is this: Stone’s insurance will pay for the surgery to get the lungs into his body, but not the $150,000 surgery to remove them from the donor.
“On the hospital side of things, they were kind of saying before we put you on the transplant list, we need to see if you can financially cover all these costs,” Stravers said.
The Stone family has started a page on youcaring.com, and in two days, they’ve received more than $100,000. Stone is meeting with doctors Monday about the surgery.
“We don’t want the finances to be in the way of them saying yes,” Stravers explained. “So we are just hoping and praying that we can get all of this money today and be prepared for as soon as they say ‘yes, you’re ready to go.’ “