Local Woman Still Seeks Donors For Lung Transplant

Katie Bischoff-Howell Suffers From Cystic Fibrosis, Needs Double Lung Transplant

A local woman who has helped thousands of San Diegans now needs help for her family.

Suzanne Stewart Pohlman's daughter, Katie Bischoff-Howell, has cystic fibrosis and desperately needs a double lung transplant. She has just been put on a ventilator.

"That means she has two weeks," said Pohlman. "Only two weeks, and at the end of two weeks, if we haven't transplanted her, she cannot ever be transplanted."

Bischoff-Howell needs the transplant in order to stay alive.

"We are over-the-top desperate to try to find living lobe donors," Pohlman said.

Bischoff-Howell is 40 years old, married and needs two people to each donate one lobe to save her life.

Her mother knows about helping people. Suzanne Stewart Pohlman is executive director of Interfaith Community Services, an organization of churches that helps thousands of San Diegans every year with food, shelter and other services.

Now she's the one who needs help for her daughter.

"This honestly is her very last chance," she said.

Pohlman already lost her 7-year-old daughter to cystic fibrosis 30 years ago. But despite Bischoff-Howell's condition, she still has faith.

"I still have hope," she said. "I know this community is generous. I know they're going to step forward. I know they're going to make this happen."

As her daughter lies in the intensive care unit at UC San Diego's Thornton Hospital, Pohlman, family members and friends are not staying idle. They say they will drive to meet prospective donors and test them. They plan to reach out to local churches this weekend.

The test for potential donors is a simple swab of the inside of the mouth.

A potential donor for Bischoff-Howell can be a man or a women, but must be Type A or O blood, be at least 5 feet 9 inches tall, and be between 18 and 55 years old.

The testing has to happen soon.

"Now," said her mother. "Today, this minute."

Anyone interested in helping can call 760-580-1698.

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