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Lennie Critch fundraising for double lung transplant


For Lennie Critch, even the slightest incline can seem insurmountable.

He gets terribly winded from physical exertion, which has severely hindered his state of living.

His next hill to climb may prove to be the most difficult to traverse yet.

Critch was diagnosed with pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) in 2010, at the age of 42. PAH is a genetic disorder that sees high blood pressure of the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. It isn’t the same as high blood pressure for the heart.

One of the main side effects of this condition for Critch is shortness of breath.

“I find talking all the time (is tiring),” Critch told The Packet.

Critch got the disease because of his genes. He is one of five siblings, four of which have the gene that causes PAH, while the two youngest developed the disease. He also has an aunt and a cousin who have passed away as a result of the illness.

Critch’s partner, Denise Avery called the original diagnosis, “devastating”.

Originally from Hillview and now living in Clarenville, Critch is a painter by trade. His PAH limits his work, he becomes exhausted if he works many hours in a day and he knows he can’t lift many of the heavier cans of paint and primer.

“The worst I find now is being on my feet for so long,” said Critch.

He says he met his limit after working just several hours.

He even is limited during his home life. Critch was always loved playing outside with their daughter, Kennedi, but now finds he can no longer play sports or even go sliding with her.

“He’s not the sort of person who gives up easily, so he never complains,” said Avery.

Since 2010, the pressure has been steadily building in Critch’s lungs and is at its highest point yet.

Critch also needs extensive medicine care constantly.

While originally treating his lung pressure with pills, in 2014 he received a Hickman catheter, a line that delivers medication directly to his heart with a pump.

“This Hickman catheter is Lennie’s lifeline,” said Avery. “His medication, which we have to make, is pumped 24/7 into his body without interruption only to change his line and pump.”

The medication itself has presented its own problems for Critch.

He was hospitalized five times since the catheter was inserted because of infection. Each of the episodes has been a major setback for him.

The medication even hampers his apetite. He doesn’t eat near as much as he used to.

The meds are to keep his lung pressures in check, and they have been steadily increased over the past couple of years.

The only permanent solution is a double lung transplant.

“The last time I was hospitalized … they realized the lung pressures were gone up from 118 to 130,” said Critch.

Normal, healthy lung pressure is 25.

He expects the process for a transplant will be coming in the coming months.

His sister, Faye, has already gone through the procedure over 10 years ago.

In addition to any financial hardship they’ve already gone through thanks to constant trips to St. John’s and an inability to work a regular schedule, Critch must now prepare to move to Toronto and await the transplant.

“I wish that I get to the point that I go away,” he said. “But the more I think about it, the more nervous I get.

“I think it would be better now to get it done and over with.”

What he most fears is the possibility that his body will reject the lungs after the surgery.

He doesn’t have a date for the procedure yet, but he may eventually have to stay in an apartment in close proximity to the hospital and wait.

During their wait they will have to pay for rent, airfare, cab money and even other expenses like finding someone to take care of Kennedi while they are away. They estimate about $1,200 will be needed per month for rent and funds in the neighbourhood of $40,000 to get by while they are in limbo, waiting for new lungs.

The severity of the situation, and knowing they need to prepare for major surgery takes its toll on the family.

“I’ve done a lot of crying,” says Avery. “I’ve had my breakdowns.”

In addition to thinking about Critch and his path to good health, they are also thinking of their daughter Kennedi who may be susceptible to the same illness as her father. She can get her genetic testing to see if she is at risk in several years, when she turns 16.

“Part of me says I’d like to know if she has my genes or not … but if she does have (them I’ll wonder) ‘well, is she going to be sick down the road,’” said Critch.

Throughout all the stresses of their situation, Avery still thanks those who have helped them, including friends, family, Critch’s lung specialist, his respiratory nurse and his medical team on the mainland.

For anyone interested in donating to Critch’s fund, the name of the account is Lennie’s Transplant Fundraiser at Clarenville CIBC. The account number is 22-04711 and the transit number is 00573.

There is also a GoFundMe account set up at the following web address: https://www.gofundme.com/pqqd6s6c.

“We thank you so very much in advance for helping and supporting us through this journey,” Avery says.

 

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

 

What is pulmonary artery hypertension?

Pulmonary artery hypertension (or PAH) is a type of high blood pressure that occurs in the right side of the heart and in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs.

These arteries are called the pulmonary arteries.

PAH occurs when the pulmonary arteries thicken or grow rigid.

Some of the symptoms can include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and leg swelling.

He gets terribly winded from physical exertion, which has severely hindered his state of living.

His next hill to climb may prove to be the most difficult to traverse yet.

Critch was diagnosed with pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) in 2010, at the age of 42. PAH is a genetic disorder that sees high blood pressure of the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. It isn’t the same as high blood pressure for the heart.

One of the main side effects of this condition for Critch is shortness of breath.

“I find talking all the time (is tiring),” Critch told The Packet.

Critch got the disease because of his genes. He is one of five siblings, four of which have the gene that causes PAH, while the two youngest developed the disease. He also has an aunt and a cousin who have passed away as a result of the illness.

Critch’s partner, Denise Avery called the original diagnosis, “devastating”.

Originally from Hillview and now living in Clarenville, Critch is a painter by trade. His PAH limits his work, he becomes exhausted if he works many hours in a day and he knows he can’t lift many of the heavier cans of paint and primer.

“The worst I find now is being on my feet for so long,” said Critch.

He says he met his limit after working just several hours.

He even is limited during his home life. Critch was always loved playing outside with their daughter, Kennedi, but now finds he can no longer play sports or even go sliding with her.

“He’s not the sort of person who gives up easily, so he never complains,” said Avery.

Since 2010, the pressure has been steadily building in Critch’s lungs and is at its highest point yet.

Critch also needs extensive medicine care constantly.

While originally treating his lung pressure with pills, in 2014 he received a Hickman catheter, a line that delivers medication directly to his heart with a pump.

“This Hickman catheter is Lennie’s lifeline,” said Avery. “His medication, which we have to make, is pumped 24/7 into his body without interruption only to change his line and pump.”

The medication itself has presented its own problems for Critch.

He was hospitalized five times since the catheter was inserted because of infection. Each of the episodes has been a major setback for him.

The medication even hampers his apetite. He doesn’t eat near as much as he used to.

The meds are to keep his lung pressures in check, and they have been steadily increased over the past couple of years.

The only permanent solution is a double lung transplant.

“The last time I was hospitalized … they realized the lung pressures were gone up from 118 to 130,” said Critch.

Normal, healthy lung pressure is 25.

He expects the process for a transplant will be coming in the coming months.

His sister, Faye, has already gone through the procedure over 10 years ago.

In addition to any financial hardship they’ve already gone through thanks to constant trips to St. John’s and an inability to work a regular schedule, Critch must now prepare to move to Toronto and await the transplant.

“I wish that I get to the point that I go away,” he said. “But the more I think about it, the more nervous I get.

“I think it would be better now to get it done and over with.”

What he most fears is the possibility that his body will reject the lungs after the surgery.

He doesn’t have a date for the procedure yet, but he may eventually have to stay in an apartment in close proximity to the hospital and wait.

During their wait they will have to pay for rent, airfare, cab money and even other expenses like finding someone to take care of Kennedi while they are away. They estimate about $1,200 will be needed per month for rent and funds in the neighbourhood of $40,000 to get by while they are in limbo, waiting for new lungs.

The severity of the situation, and knowing they need to prepare for major surgery takes its toll on the family.

“I’ve done a lot of crying,” says Avery. “I’ve had my breakdowns.”

In addition to thinking about Critch and his path to good health, they are also thinking of their daughter Kennedi who may be susceptible to the same illness as her father. She can get her genetic testing to see if she is at risk in several years, when she turns 16.

“Part of me says I’d like to know if she has my genes or not … but if she does have (them I’ll wonder) ‘well, is she going to be sick down the road,’” said Critch.

Throughout all the stresses of their situation, Avery still thanks those who have helped them, including friends, family, Critch’s lung specialist, his respiratory nurse and his medical team on the mainland.

For anyone interested in donating to Critch’s fund, the name of the account is Lennie’s Transplant Fundraiser at Clarenville CIBC. The account number is 22-04711 and the transit number is 00573.

There is also a GoFundMe account set up at the following web address: https://www.gofundme.com/pqqd6s6c.

“We thank you so very much in advance for helping and supporting us through this journey,” Avery says.

 

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

 

What is pulmonary artery hypertension?

Pulmonary artery hypertension (or PAH) is a type of high blood pressure that occurs in the right side of the heart and in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs.

These arteries are called the pulmonary arteries.

PAH occurs when the pulmonary arteries thicken or grow rigid.

Some of the symptoms can include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and leg swelling.

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