Victoria Chakwin, 17, survives rare disease, gets lung transplant
Though pulmonary fibrosis is common in people over 70, it's extremely rare for a teenager.
Victoria Chakwin, 17, had such an advanced case of the lung disease, she was taken off the waiting list for a transplant.
She never expected she'd live long enough to go to her high school prom.
Diagnosed at age 11 with pulmonary fibrosis, she was given 3 - 5 years to live, unless she had a double lung transplant.
Then, while waiting for the donor, she experienced pulmonary failure.
Her lungs were full and could get very little air.
Out of options, in January doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center decided to try something different.
They hooked her up to an external lung machine that oxygenates the blood and then pumps it back into the body. .
She remained hooked up to the machine waiting for a donor. And then three months ago, she had the double lung transplant.
Now her medical success story could inspire others.
And Saturday night, Victoria's wearing a dream dress to her high school prom.
She'll be reunited with friends she hasn't seen since last year.
"I'm making plans with friends," Victoria says. "I went from having no life to having the whole world. I can do anything, almost."
Victoria has another big event to look forward to, graduation in a few weeks with her senior class from Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.