Young lawyer survives double lung transplant

A YOUNG Toowoomba solicitor will be forever grateful to an unknown family for her new lease on life.

At just 25, Connie Arundel has survived a double lung transplant for her cystic fibrosis.

The solicitor, who works for Shine Lawyers, is gradually returning to a normal life and could kick up her heels in excitement.

She received the transplant in January and has been off work for three months.

"I'm going to be very happy to just work full-time without having to disappear to hospital," she said.

"I can walk for 100 metres and not be breathless - that's how bad I was.

"I can go water-skiing with my family and friends and have air in my lungs."

Cystic fibrosis affects the lungs and digestive system because of a malfunction in the exocrine system.

There is currently no cure.

Eight months prior to the transplant, Ms Arundel was spending weeks in hospital.

"You hope to put off a double lung transplant for as long as you can, if you're luckily enough to even have one that is," she said.

"For me, particularly in the last eight months pre-transplant, I was in hospital for two weeks, every two weeks."

Lawyer, Connie Arundel . gets new lease on life after successful double lung transplant for her cystic fibrosis . April 2017
Lawyer, Connie Arundel . gets new lease on life after successful double lung transplant for her cystic fibrosis . April 2017 Bev Lacey

Studies show the average life span for people with cystic fibrosis who live to adulthood is about 37 years. Death is most often caused by lung complications.

Ms Arundel may never meet the family of her donor and said while she respected the current laws in place, she wondered if fate would bring them together.

"I will never know who my donor was and who my donor's family is," she said.

"So for people who are thinking 'should we donate?', hopefully they can look at me and see that someone's so grateful.

"This someone has gone to university and worked hard but had something wrong and has now received this gift - the greatest gift of all that helps you keep living.

"It's just a crazy thought to be here today, breathing like a normal person."

Growing up on a property outside of Oakey, Ms Arundel knew she wanted to be a solicitor since she was in primary school.

"I was born with it (cystic fibrosis) so I knew nothing else but I guess the key to getting by was to not let it control your life," she said.

"You got to do what you want to do while complying with medications and physiotherapy.

"Just don't let it be the boss, you are."

Now Ms Arundel's gearing up to spend Easter in Melbourne and hopes to travel to Townsville to see her brother and sister.

She thanked Shine Lawyers for its ongoing support.


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