Local registered nurse, Mollie Pegram, understands how fortunate every breath truly is after successfully receiving a double lung transplant. That’s why the 45-year-old mother of two will run a half marathon throughout the month of June as part of the American Lung Association’s virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk, to raise awareness of lung disease and funding for life-saving research.
After being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, an aggressive form of lung disease, Pegram was placed on the transplant list in May of 2014. In November of the same year, her doctor informed her that she needed to be placed on life support. The words her and her husband Steve feared the most.
“I was literally signing the paperwork to go on life support when my phone rang,” Mollie said. “It was my lungs!”
After what she considers to be a last second miracle, Pegram breathes on her own again.
“When they took the tube out after surgery, I took my first big deep breath for the first time in years,” she added. “It was incredible.”
Pegram hopes her experience will educate others and encourage people to listen to their body.
“I thought I was fine and my diagnosis was too late.” she said. “As soon as you think something is wrong, figure out what it is and go see a doctor. There are things they can do to slow the progression of these diseases.”
Since receiving her transplant in 2014, Pegram participates in fundraisers every year. Her goal is to raise money for lung disease research and bring awareness to organ donating.
“Even as a health care professional, organ donation rarely crossed my mind. It’s not a conversation piece, people don’t talk about it.” Mollie said. “You think about when they ask you at the DMV and you forget about it. It’s important to talk about it.”
Pegram stays busy raising her children and is looking forward to participating in the virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk with her family. She hopes to raise more than $2,000 for research.
“These events are so much fun. You get to bring out your family and it’s like a party atmosphere,” she said. “Research gets done through fundraising events like these.”
The Lung Association’s virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk will be held throughout the month of June. Participants are encouraged to run or walk their targeted distance outside while respectfully distancing from others or inside their own homes. Registration is $25. More information can be found Lung.org/LUNGFORCE.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.