Woman raising awareness in Bridgewater of rare lung disease
With her newborn daughter and her husband, she sat down to a beautiful meal with her parents at the family's home at 44 Mohawk Trail.
In May, one of her lungs collapsed and required surgery. In June, both lungs collapsed requiring another surgery. A biopsy revealed little dots on her lungs and brought a devastating diagnosis.
As Steele prepared for the drive to New Hampshire on Wednesday, she was feeling pretty good, good enough to run in today's Bridgewater Turkey Trot, which benefits the local Santa Fund. Besides helping local kids, she's running to publicize her disease, hoping to raise money for research that could find a cure.
"Up until June, I considered myself a normal, healthy, happy person, I had never heard of this disease," she said from her home in Virginia, where she teaches elementary school.
In June and July, she was overwhelmed and in shock. In August, she learned about the LAM Foundation, which raises money for research and publicizes the need for research and funding. The foundation has helped her connect with other victims of the disease.
The disease was discovered in the 1990s, and thus far, only 1,500 people worldwide have been diagnosed. The potential lifespan after diagnosis is 30 years, but LAM sufferers often die sooner. It almost exclusively affects women, usually during their childbearing years.
She is in early stages of the disease. She was encouraged to learn that research has produced two trial drugs, one of which has shown promise in at least slowing the disease.
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