Costly therapy out of reach

A young Kelowna woman suffering from cystic fibrosis is reaching out to the public for help to receive a promising new treatment.

Nicole Stringer, 27, has had CF her entire life, but has been dealing with increased medical problems since 2012 after being hospitalized for an undiagnosed heart problem, followed by multiple lung infections.

Because her lungs only function at 50 per cent, there are days when Stringer must carry an oxygen tank with her. She has become resistant to all but two antibiotics, making it near impossible to keep lung infections at bay.

Stringer discovered a treatment called phage therapy, available only at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

After getting approval from her doctors in Vancouver, Stringer travelled to New Haven and received the therapy in May and returned home with what appeared to be a successful outcome. But, after only one month, Stringer's body rejected the treatment, leaving her hospitalized in even worse condition for the entire summer.

Stringer's doctors have since discovered why her body rejected the therapy and decided it would be best for her to receive the treatment a second time – but she can't afford the expense of travelling to, and staying in New Haven. There is also the added burden of missing work for her and her husband.

The University of Yale medical campus is providing treatment and hospital facilities at no cost to the family.

Stringer's close friend, Sky Edwards, created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $15,000, to pay for Stringer's travel and living expenses during treatment.

Stringer hopes to travel back to Connecticut this November to receive the therapy for the last time.

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