Imagine not being able to laugh or cry without feeling as if you were suffocating.
Imagine going from an active lifestyle to not being able to walk even a short distance without losing your breath.
Imagine being on oxygen 24 hours a day.
Imagine your heart being six times larger than average and covering three-fourths of your lung on the right side.
Imagine if the only chance you had to live was to have a double lung transplant that costs nearly $800,000.
And now imagine if you were only 29.
That's the challenge facing Michelle "Shelly" Jump, a 2003 graduate of Cuba High School. Following graduation, she joined the Army and found her husband, Jessie Jump, who she married in 2004. After Jessie returned from his deployment in Iraq, the couple celebrated their second wedding anniversary in May 2006. The following day she had gall bladder surgery, and the day after that, she stopped breathing and had to be lifeflighted to OSF.
Tests showed she had pulmonary arterial hypertension. On Jan. 1, 2011, Jump had an IV line put in to help her breath and take pressure off her heart. She also takes several other medications orally.
With all her trials, Jump still has a positive attitude, according to her mother, Penny Winters.
"She's in a lot of pain and she's lost a lot of weight," Winters said. "She's also retaining fluid, so it has to be drained. She looks like she's both anorexic and pregnant."
In addition to the cost of the transplant, Jump will need to temporarily relocate 600 miles from her home to be near the hospital during recovery, which will mean more expenses for travel, food and lodging.
Winters said they have completed the tests and other measures to get Jump ready for the transplant, but before she can get on the list, they need to have a private pilot or service that would be able to get her to Pittsburgh, where the transplant would take place, in four hours in order for her to be placed on the waiting list. If no such transportation is found by September, Jump and her immediate family will have to relocate to the Pittsburgh area in October.
That would mean Winters leaving her job and trying to find a new one in the Pittsburgh area, as well as working to find new sources for the medications and oxygen Jump must have.
Because of her condition, Jump would not be able to fly in a commercial airline for the transplant.
To help raise funds for her expenses, a fun run/auction will be held Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Brew-N-Cue in Canton.
The cost is $20 per bike and $10 per additional rider. The first bike will leave at noon and the last bike will be in at 5 p.m.
Page 2 of 2 - Fun run locations also include Goose Pit in Banner, Hammer in Bartonville, Brown Jug in Trivoli and Crossroads in Farmington.
There will also be a 50/50 drawing and raffle items.
In addition, contributions are being sought by the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT), which is working to help with expenses. NFT has been assisting transplant patients with fundraising support for 30 years. All donations to NFT are tax deductible.
Winters said the experience has taught her a number of things.
"I have learned not to take the little things for granted, like breathing," Winters said.
Winters also noted because of possible complications, even the transplant may not work. But regardless of the outcome, Winters said she hoped Jump's experience would open the eyes of the public to the need for more organ donations.
"I now have seen the need for organ donations," Winters said. "The National Foundation for Transplants can use money to help everyone in need of transplants.
There is a need for organs. If you are not an organ donor, please consider donating as you may save a life."
Though securing the transplant is still a work in progress, Michelle is thankful for the support.
"All my tests are now completed," Michelle said. "If I die before or during my transplant, I will still be happy because life is beautiful, and I have great friends and family that love me and support me. Thank you very much."
For more information on the fundraiser for Jump, contact Jessie Jump at 309/224-6794.
To learn more about the NFT or to make a donation via check or credit card, visit www.transplants.org/michellejump