This is Erika Pepper. Erika is 24 years old and was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF is a genetic respiratory illness that progresses over time. Despite her lifelong trials with CF Erika was able to graduate as a valedictorian in high school and went on to pursue her degree in Elementary Education at LCSC. As Erika entered into adulthood, the damage and scarring to her lungs became more and more severe and she began requiring more frequent hospitalizations and a time consuming treatment regimen.
Erika moved to Western Washington in 2017 after landing her dream job as a first grade teacher. During her first year of teaching Erika became very sick, developing a persistent infection that caused a massive decline in her lung function, which she has been unable to recover from. Erika returned to Maple Valley to finish out her school year, but has since relocated back to Lewiston. She has been on 24/7 oxygen for about a year now and began having conversations with her doctors in Spokane about transplant earlier this year.
In April, Erika and her family traveled to Seattle to meet with the transplant team and evaluate her case. After undergoing a week of extensive testing it was determined that she was a great candidate for transplant, meaning her current lungs can no longer keep up and a double lung transplant is the best option for her. Erika was listed for transplant on Wednesday, May 22nd around 5:00 pm. Erika and her family had only just started making arrangements for transplant, when they received the call just 18 hours after she was listed. A potential donor for Erika has been found!
On May 25, 2019, Erika's transplant journey began.