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South Dakota native Tyrel Tanner was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 4. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that caused progressive lung damage, persistent infections and eventually respiratory failure.  He has had countless hospitalizations over the years since his diagnosis and went through multiple daily treatments to delay the inevitable loss of lung function.  Despite the toll the disease took on Tyrel, he refused to give into it. 

As a youth, Tyrel played soccer, excelled in 4-H, loved to fish, was a member of the National Honor Society and Prom King.  He has attended college, joined the workforce and tried to live life as fully as CF would allow.  Through this all Tyrel has maintained a positive attitude. 

AT 23 years old Tyrel needed a double lung transplant due to the damage his lungs received from his lifelong battle with CF.  Although there is not a cure for CF, a lung transplant can extend a patient’s life and improve their health.  At its worst, Tyrel’s lung function was at 15%.  After 5 months on the transplant list, on September 15, 2018 Tyrel underwent a double lung transplant.  The transplant process is invasive, physically demanding and requires a minimum of six-month recovery time.   He has begun taking a multitude of medications, some of which will continue for rest of his life.  In the coming months Tyrel will have multiple Doctors’ appointments weekly. Tyrel is required to stay near the transplant hospital for several months. 

During the recovery period Tyrel will not be able to work, and in addition to the normal living expenses, he will have significant medical costs. According to a 2014 Milliman Research Report on U.S. organ transplant, the average first year costs for lung transplant is $785,000. There are many costs not covered by insurance as well as lifelong expenses related to transplant (including follow up care and multiple prescriptions). Tyrel’s friends and family have partnered with COTA to help raise funds in Tyrel’s honor to help assist with transplant-related expenses.

 The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. COTA is the nation’s only fundraising organization solely dedicated to raising life-saving dollars in honor of transplant-needy children and young adults. 100% of each contribution made to COTA in honor of our patients helps meet transplant-related expenses. COTA’s services are free to our families, and gifts to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


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