GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — A Green Bay teenager has just years to live unless she receives a new pair of lungs.
As she waits, friends and family are raising money to support her.
“I love dancing but I can’t for the last three years because it’s been really hard,” 15-year-old Erin Culbertson said.
Culbertson was born with Cystic Fibrosis.
“Which is a disease that ultimately impacts lungs and can cause respiratory issues,” said Amy Wright, a family friend and public relations coordinator for Team Erin C, a group raising money to benefit Erin.
“Her CF has been a little bit more progressive than most people and it’s getting to the point where on a good day she only has about 30 percent use of her lungs and on a bad day it’s down to 20,” said Erin’s mom, Karla Culbertson.
In August, Erin and her family learned that she needs a new pair of lungs.
“Unless Erin gets this transplant she probably only has one or two years left to live,” Karla Culbertson said. “Sometimes getting up to go sit down at the table for dinner is hard.”
In November, Erin and her mom moved to St. Louis, where Erin goes for physical therapy, sees doctors, and they wait for a call saying there is a pair of lungs that will work.
“Wisconsin doesn’t have any pediatric transplant facilities so this was the closest one that we had,” Karla Culbertson said.
Finding a pair of lungs that will work isn’t easy and costs associated with the transplant could be $500,000.
The Culbertson family is getting help financially from the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) while they wait.
Now, those in northeast Wisconsin are raising money for COTA to help with those costs and they are sharing Erin’s story in the process.
“Our immediate goal is to try to raise $50,000 for COTA in honor of Erin,” Wright said.
So far, the Team Erin C. has raised about $25,000 but hope to raise more at a benefit in Green Bay next month.
The community is invited to attend the benefit at Jimmy Seas Pub, Grill, and Fenders in Green bay from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 18.
Funds raised will be used toward transplant costs.