Carmel grad raising money for transplant

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Commentary by Kim Corbin

If you would have told me when I graduated from Carmel High School in 1987 that I would go on to have a career in public relations that would have at least seemed feasible.  Had you told me, however, that I would one day be called on to use my publicity skills to help raise money toward expenses for a life-saving transplant for my best friend from college more than 25 years later, I never would have believed it. But here I am.

I met Stephanie Devine Rath when we both lived in the same dorm at Purdue University. At the time, I had no idea what Cystic Fibrosis was. But in the years since, I have unfortunately watched her lungs gradually decline to the point where she needs to be on oxygen full time and a double lung transplant has become a necessity for her ongoing survival.

I also watched with amazement at the grace with which she absorbed the shock of being diagnosed with rectal cancer. Never feeling sorry for herself, she just went to work to do what she had to do to be healthy enough to be considered for transplant as her lungs continued to deteriorate.

Stephanie’s buoyant and optimistic spirit inspires everyone around her. She has become affectionately know as the “Pink Pig” to her friends and family because of her strong identification with the phrase, “If pigs have wings, away they’d fly.” Here’s Stephanie in her own words describing what her fascination with flying pigs is all about:

The flying pig has become a symbol for me of overcoming the impossible. If a pig can grow wings, then maybe I can make it till I get wings of my own. My wings would be in the form of a double lung transplant. How wonderful it would be to fly or even just run a block. Someday, hopefully, the dream will be a reality.

Of course there is no guarantee with a transplant. So, I’m trying my best to get by with my lungs as I wait for a new pair. This has gotten exceedingly more difficult over the last several months. I’m sick more often and have less energy than before, but I’m still as determined as ever. Maybe this pig does have wings…”

I want more than anything to see Stephanie get her wings at long last. She is tremendously courageous and strong and brave, and she loves life more than anyone I know. She’s not afraid at all of the transplant procedure. She says she feels like a kid at Christmastime who is about to open the best gift ever.

We are working with the Children’s Transplant Association in honor of Stephanie to raise an estimated $65,000 toward transplant expenses. This national charity is dedicated to helping children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. Stephanie keeps a blog there that you can read it at www.cotaforstephr.com. Your financial support would be greatly appreciated.

Of course, energetic donations are welcome, too. So please join me in sending prayers and good thoughts Stephanie’s way as she waits for the call that will hopefully give her the wings she needs to soar to new heights in her life.

 

Kim Corbin grew up in Carmel and is now a Senior Book Publicist and Social Media Manager for New World Library, a book publisher located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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