Double Lung Transplant Recipient:

Published 3:33 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help offset medical expenses for Abby Kelsey will be held at Farmville Presbyterian Church on Friday, June 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Abby, who has struggled with the debilitating effects of cystic fibrosis all of her life, recently underwent a double-lung transplant at Duke University Medical Center.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. A defective gene causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school.

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Abby, who will turn 21 in July, is recuperating and having therapy in an apartment near the hospital.

“Abby is still in Durham,” her grandmother Sadie Kelsey related.

“The family had to rent an apartment near the hospital while Abby goes through therapy,” added Peggy Hargrave, Farmville Presbyterian's secretary. “Someone in the family also has to be with her while she recuperates, so her parents are taking turns going to Durham.”

Her parents, Caleb and Nancy Kelsey, and grandparents, Carl and Sadie Kelsey, are all members of Farmville Presbyterian.

Hargrave added that a hundred percent of all donations from the upcoming fundraiser at the church will go to the Children's Organ Transplant Association, COTA, which exists to assist patients who require a life-saving organ, bone marrow, cord blood or stem cell transplant. Funds raised by local community members are deposited into the account COTA establishes at a local bank or are sent directly to COTA's national office. The family can focus attention on their patient while COTA serves as the “bill payer” from the fund.

“Abby is already doing much better with her breathing,” her grandmother said.

Farmville Presbyterian is hoping for a large turnout for Friday's fundraiser for Abby.

“Abby has a new life after battling cystic fibrosis for more than 20 years,” Hargrave concluded. “Tell all your friends, come to the dinner, and make a donation to help.”

Donations for Abby Kelsey can also be sent to Farmville Presbyterian Church, 200 W, Third St., Farmville, VA, 23901 (note on check: Abby Kelsey's medical expenses). The spaghetti dinner will be Friday, June 10, 5 to 8 p.m. in the fellowship hall. For further information call the church at 392-4243.