Charisse Bowe was just 17 years old when she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease scleroderma. The 29-year-old from the Bahamas managed to live well with the condition for a few years, but eventually her health started to decline. She was then also diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary hypertension is a chronic lung condition which often occurs in scleroderma patients. Charisse’s lung function declined so much that she’s now on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day and in 2015, doctors told her she would need a lung transplant.
While being evaluated for a lung transplant in Florida, Charisse discovered that she also had another serious condition called esophageal dysmotility, which is a build-up of scar tissue in the esophagus. The condition causes problems with swallowing and has added to the complications of her lung transplant.
There are currently only two hospitals in the U.S. who will perform lung transplants on scleroderma patients with esophageal dysmotility and after being evaluated at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center she was told she would be able to have the procedure so long as she lives within four hours of the hospital. She is now appealing for help to raise the $2 million needed for her lung transplant.
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