Healthy Living

Woman with Cystic Fibrosis Gets Double Lung Transplant and Dream Wedding

Woman with Cystic Fibrosis Gets Double Lung Transplant and Dream Wedding

Woman with Cystic Fibrosis Gets Double Lung Transplant and Dream Wedding

Katelyn Strube-Bohaty was born in June of 1990. At just three months old, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). During the first five months of her life, she had to undergo numerous surgeries and spent countless days in the neonatal intensive care unit. When Katelyn was 11 months old, her baby sister, Kelsey, was born and also diagnosed with CF. Although growing up with CF proved to be challenging, being by each other’s side and supporting one another was perhaps what made the disease a little more manageable for the two sisters.

Remaining optimistic despite continually failing health

In 2008, Katelyn graduated from high school and went on to study business marketing at the University of Kansas (KU). At the start of her second year of college, Katelyn fell ill with pneumonia and had to be hospitalized for a prolonged period of time. The pneumonia had restricted her lung capacity to the point of 30% and her CF continued to advance. This is when her doctor mentioned a double lung transplantation. Katelyn’s lung capacity began to drop and reached 19%, forcing her to have to carry around an oxygen tank everywhere she went. Yet, despite her declining health, Katelyn remained a graceful and optimistic individual.

It was likely these qualities that drew the attention of a young man named Brent, who Katelyn had first met in 2011 at KU.

Katelyn and Brent’s relationship flourished even as Katelyn’s health continued to take a downward spiral and in June of 2015, Brent proposed. During this time, Katelyn knew that her health would only worsen if she did move forward with a lung transplant. She decided to undergo transplantation work up, which is a process that involves evaluation of a candidate’s potential for a transplantation.

In October of 2015, Katelyn, Brent, and her parents left Kansas and moved to Dallas, Texas, so that Katelyn could be put on the waiting list at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for a new pair of lungs. “It was a blessing to have my big sister, Mollie, living in Dallas and close to the hospital. All of us felt very comfortable with the UTSW transplant team, which helped to assure me this was the right decision,” said Katelyn.

She was officially on the list for a lung transplant

In November of 2015, it was official – Katelyn’s name had been put on the list for a lung transplant. It was during the days of waiting that her younger sister Kelsey decided to reach out to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). She wanted to learn more about fundraising efforts for expenses relating to transplantations. On April 24th, a representative from COTA flew to the family’s hometown to provide Katelyn’s family and friends with fundraising guidance and support.

Fundraising efforts took off rather quickly and on April 28th of 2016, a call was made that Katelyn’s entire family and friends had been waiting for: a donation for a perfectly matched set of lungs for Katelyn.

Read on to learn more about Katelyn's heartwarming story.

Photo: People